The Volta a Catalunya (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈvɔltə ə kətəˈluɲə]; Tour of Catalonia, Spanish: Vuelta a Cataluña) is a road bicycle race held annually in Catalonia, Spain.

Volta a Catalunya
2024 Volta a Catalunya
Race details
DateLate March
RegionCatalonia, Spain
English nameTour of Catalonia
Local name(s)Vuelta a Cataluña (in Spanish) Volta a Catalunya (in Catalan)
CompetitionUCI World Tour
TypeStage race
Organiser"Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya Associació Esportiva (Unió Esportiva de Sants)
Race directorRubèn Peris
Web Edit this at Wikidata
First edition1911 (1911)
Editions103 (as of 2024)
First winner Sebastià Masdeu (ESP)
Most wins Mariano Cañardo (ESP) (7 wins)
Most recent Tadej Pogačar (SLO)

It is one of three World Tour stage races in Spain, together with the Vuelta a España and the Tour of the Basque Country. The race has had several different calendar dates, having been previously run in September, June and May. Since 2010 it has been on the calendar in late March as part of the UCI World Tour.[1]

Raced over seven days, it covers the autonomous community of Catalonia in Northeast Spain and contains one or more stages in the mountain region of the Pyrenees.[2] The race traditionally finishes with a stage in Barcelona, Catalonia's capital, on a circuit with the famous Montjuïc climb and park.[3]

First held in 1911, the Volta a Catalunya is the fourth-oldest still-existing cycling stage race in the world.[4] Only the Tour de France (1903), the Tour of Belgium (1908) and the Giro d'Italia (1909) are older.[2] It was the second cycling event organized on the Iberian Peninsula, after the amateur and sub-23 race Volta a Tarragona (1908), also held in Catalonia but no longer on the calendar. Catalan cycling icon Mariano Cañardo won the race seven times in the 1920s and 1930s, setting an unsurpassed record.[5]

In 2018, the one-day women's competition reVolta was organised on the same day of the last men's stage.

History edit

The pioneering days edit

The traditional white jersey with the three green stripes of the leader of the Volta, tea the origen in the equipment of the Unió Esportiva Sants.

The Volta a Catalunya was created in 1911 by cycling journalist Miquel Arteman, editor of Barcelona-based sports newspaper El Mundo Deportivo.[5][6] Arteman partnered with Narcisse Masferrer, president of Spanish Cycling Union, and Jaume Grau, founder and owner of El Mundo Deportivo.

Start of the first Volta a Catalunya in Barcelona, on 6 January 1911.

The first edition was held from 6 to 8 January 1911. 43 riders signed up but only 34 started on Barcelona's Plaça de Sarrià.[6] The first stage was run from Barcelona to Tarragona at 97 km, the second from Tarragona to Lleida at 111 km and the final 157 km stage from Lleida back to Barcelona, totaling 363 km. 22 riders finished the race on the Velodrome di Sants. Catalan rider Seabastià Masdeu won the first and third stages and became the first overall winner. The winner's average speed was 23 km/h.[6]

The Club Deportivo Barcelona, presided by Miquel Arteman, took on the race organization in 1912 and 1913. The event was still organized on a three-stage format and amassed large numbers of spectators along the largely unpaved roads.[5] Local Catalan riders Josép Magdalena and Juan Martí won the second and third editions, respectively. After 1913, the Volta a Catalunya was suspended because of World War I; it was reprised in 1920, but was discontinued again over the next two years because of the chaotic return of the race.[5]

Revival and Spanish Civil War edit

Mariano Cañardo won the race a record seven times in the 1920s and 1930s.

The race was revived in 1923 for its fifth edition. The organization was taken over by the Unión Deportiva de Sants, which also supported Barcelona football teams.[7] The race grew to a one-week event and gained prestige fast. It became a fixture on the calendar, attracting more foreign participants, mainly from France and Italy.[5] The 1920s and 1930s became the era of Catalan cycling icon Mariano Cañardo, who became the leading figure of the Volta a Catalunya with seven victories.

During the Spanish Civil War, the race had its last interruptions in 1937 and 1938, hampering Cañardo's winning streak. After the civil war, World War II broke out in the rest of Europe and, while Catalonia was war-ridden and despite lacking foreign participants, the race was at the peak of its popularity and considered a symbol of Catalan sports culture. In 1945, marking the event's 25th edition, the Volta a Catalunya was exceptionally run over two weeks, before returning to its seven-day format the next year.[5]

Modern era edit

Over the years, some of cycling's greatest riders have won the race. Miguel Poblet won the Volta twice in the 1950s, Jacques Anquetil in 1967, Eddy Merckx in 1968, Luis Ocaña in 1971, Felice Gimondi in 1972, Francesco Moser in 1978, and Sean Kelly in 1984 and 1986. Miguel Induráin, Spanish cycling icon of the modern era, won the race three times in the early 1990s. Colombian Álvaro Mejía became the first non-European winner in 1993.

From 1941 until 1994, the race was held in September.[5] When UCI revolutionized the international cycling calendar in 1995, the Vuelta a España was awarded the September date and the Volta a Catalunya moved to June on the calendar. The race finished two weeks before the start of the Tour de France and the Volta became the principal preparation race for general classification protagonists. Frenchman Laurent Jalabert won the 1995 edition, preceding his fourth place in that year's Tour de France.[8]

Spanish allround specialist Alejandro Valverde was the first rider since Miguel Induráin to win the Volta a Catalunya three times.

In 1999, 22-year old Spanish rider Manuel Sanroma died as a result of a crash during the second stage of the race. Sanroma, a promising sprinter, was the favourite to win the stage, but fell head-first onto a sidewalk at one kilometre from the finish in Vilanova i la Geltrú. Despite wearing a helmet, he succumbed to his injuries in hospital.[9][10] The next day, riders decided to neutralize the stage to Barcelona.[11]

World Tour Race edit

In 2005, the Volta a Catalunya was included in the inaugural UCI Pro Tour and the date was shifted to May to avoid the Tour de Suisse date.[12] The edition was won by Ukrainian Yaroslav Popovych but the move did not prove successful because the new date coincided with the Giro d'Italia.[13]

In 2010 the race moved to late March on the calendar, the slot formerly held by another Catalan stage race, the Setmana Catalana.[14] Joaquim Rodríguez, the foremost Catalan rider of his generation, won the race twice after the date shift. Alberto Contador, winner of the 2011 edition,[15] was later stripped of his win after his positive doping test in the 2010 Tour de France.[16][17] Italian runner-up Michele Scarponi was retroactively awarded the victory. The 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Route of the 2012 Volta a Catalunya.

Route edit

Since the race's earlier date on the calendar in late March, the Volta a Catalunya has started in one of the coastal resorts on the Costa Brava with a stage through rolling terrain inland, usually suited for sprinters.[18]

The race reaches the Pyrenees mountains in the middle part of the race, although the mountains are usually less high than before the date shift, due to frequent snowy and cold conditions at high altitude in March.[2] One of the regular climbs in the race is the summit finish to La Molina, an 11.6 km climb with a 4.8% average gradient. The ski resort in Alp takes the peloton deep into the Pyrenees to 1694 m altitude, with the weather often a decisive factor.[18]

The race traditionally finishes with a hilly stage in Barcelona on a circuit, featuring eight trips over the Montjuïc climb and park.[2]

Winners edit

Year Country Rider Team
1911   Spain Sebastià Masdeu
1912   Spain Josép Magdalena
1913   Spain Juan Martí
No race due to World War I
1920   France José Pelletier
1921 No race
1922 No race
1923   France Maurice Ville Automoto-Hutchinson
1924   Spain Miquel Mucio U.D. Sans
1925   Spain Miquel Mucio U.D. Sans
1926   France Víctor Fontan individual
1927   France Víctor Fontan individual
1928   Spain Mariano Cañardo Elvish-Wolber
1929   Spain Mariano Cañardo F.C. Barcelona
1930   Spain Mariano Cañardo Styl
1931   Spain Salvador Cardona individual
1932   Spain Mariano Cañardo individual
1933   Italy Alfredo Bovet Bianchi
1934   Italy Bernardo Rogora Gloria
1935   Spain Mariano Cañardo Orbea
1936   Spain Mariano Cañardo Colin–Wolber
1937 No race due to Civil War
1938 No race due to Civil War
1939   Spain Mariano Cañardo individual
1940   Luxembourg Christophe Didier Alcyon–Dunlop
1941   Spain Antonio Andrés Sancho individual
1942   Spain Fédérico Ezquerra individual
1943   Spain Julián Berrendero F.C. Barcelona
1944   Spain Miguel Casas individual
1945   Spain Bernardo Ruiz individual
1946   Spain Julián Berrendero Chiclès-Tabay
1947   Spain Emilio Rodríguez U.D. Sans–Alas Color–Minaco
1948   Spain Emilio Rodríguez U.D. Sans-Alas Color
1949   France Émile Rol La Perle–Hutchinson
1950   Spain Antonio Gelabert individual
1951   Italy Primo Volpi Arbos-Talbot
1952   Spain Miguel Poblet Canals & Nubiola
1953   Spain Salvador Botella individual
1954   Italy Walter Serena Bottecchia-Ursus
1955   Spain José Gómez del Moral Minaco
1956   Spain Aniceto Utset Mobylette–Coabania
1957   Spain Jesús Loroño
1958   Belgium Richard Van Genechten
1959   Spain Salvador Botella
1960   Spain Miguel Poblet
1961   France Henri Duez
1962   Spain Antonio Karmany
1963   France Joseph Novales
1964   France Joseph Carrara
1965   Spain Antonio Gómez del Moral
1966   Netherlands Arie den Hartog
1967   France Jacques Anquetil
1968   Belgium Eddy Merckx
1969   Spain Mariano Díaz
1970   Italy Franco Bitossi
1971   Spain Luis Ocaña
1972   Italy Felice Gimondi
1973   Spain Domingo Perurena
1974   France Bernard Thévenet
1975   Italy Fausto Bertoglio
1976   Spain Enrique Martínez
1977   Belgium Freddy Maertens
1978   Italy Francesco Moser
1979   Spain Vicente Belda
1980   Spain Marino Lejarreta Teka
1981   Spain Faustino Rupérez Zor
1982   Spain Alberto Fernández Teka
1983   Spain Josep Recio Kelme
1984   Ireland Sean Kelly Skil–Sem
1985   Great Britain Robert Millar Peugeot
1986   Ireland Sean Kelly KAS
1987   Spain Álvaro Pino BH
1988   Spain Miguel Induráin Reynolds
1989   Spain Marino Lejarreta Caja Rural
1990   Spain Laudelino Cubino BH
1991   Spain Miguel Induráin Banesto
1992   Spain Miguel Induráin Banesto
1993   Colombia Álvaro Mejía Motorola
1994   Italy Claudio Chiappucci Carrera Jeans–Tassoni
1995   France Laurent Jalabert ONCE
1996    Switzerland Alex Zülle ONCE
1997   Spain Fernando Escartín Kelme–Costa Blanca
1998   Colombia Hernán Buenahora Vitalicio Seguros
1999   Spain Manuel Beltrán Banesto
2000   Spain José María Jiménez Banesto
2001   Spain Joseba Beloki ONCE–Eroski
2002   Spain Roberto Heras U.S. Postal Service
2003   Spain José Antonio Pecharromán Costa de Almería-Paternina
2004   Spain Miguel Ángel Martín Perdiguero Phonak
2005   Ukraine Yaroslav Popovych Discovery Channel
2006   Spain David Cañada Saunier Duval–Prodir
2007   Russia Vladimir Karpets Caisse d'Epargne
2008   Spain Gustavo César Karpin–Galicia
2009   Spain Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne
2010   Spain Joaquim Rodríguez Team Katusha
2011   Italy Michele Scarponi[Note 1] Lampre–ISD
2012    Switzerland Michael Albasini GreenEDGE
2013   Ireland Dan Martin Garmin–Sharp
2014   Spain Joaquim Rodríguez Team Katusha
2015   Australia Richie Porte Team Sky
2016   Colombia Nairo Quintana Movistar Team
2017   Spain Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team
2018   Spain Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team
2019   Colombia Miguel Ángel López Astana
2020 No race due to COVID-19 pandemic
2021   Great Britain Adam Yates Ineos Grenadiers
2022   Colombia Sergio Higuita Bora–Hansgrohe
2023   Slovenia Primož Roglič Team Jumbo–Visma
2024   Slovenia Tadej Pogačar UAE Team Emirates

Multiple winners edit

Wins Rider Editions
7   Mariano Cañardo (ESP) 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1939
3   Miguel Induráin (ESP) 1988, 1991, 1992
  Alejandro Valverde (ESP) 2009, 2017, 2018
2   Miguel Mucio (ESP) 1924, 1925
  Victor Fontan (FRA) 1926, 1927
  Emilio Rodríguez (ESP) 1947, 1948
  Miguel Poblet (ESP) 1952, 1960
  Salvador Botella (ESP) 1953, 1959
  Marino Lejarreta (ESP) 1980, 1989
  Sean Kelly (IRL) 1984, 1986
  Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP) 2010, 2014

Wins per country edit

Wins Country
60   Spain
11   France
10   Italy
5   Colombia
3   Belgium
2   Great Britain
1   Australia

Most stage wins edit

# Rider Stage wins
1   Miguel Poblet (ESP) 33
2   Mariano Cañardo (ESP) 22
3   Domingo Perurena (ESP) 14
4   Emilio Rodríguez (ESP) 12
5   Mario Cipollini (ITA) 11
6   Miguel Gual (ESP) 10
7   Alejandro Valverde (ESP) 9
8   Laurent Jalabert (FRA) 8
  Seán Kelly (IRL) 8
  Johan van der Velde (NED) 8
  Julián Berrendero (ESP) 8

Medals (1911-2023) edit

Only General Classification results and exclude Stages results.

1  Spain606462186
2  France1161128
3  Italy1091029
4  Colombia53210
5  Belgium36312
6  Ireland3317
7   Switzerland23510
8  Great Britain2114
9  Slovenia2002
10  Australia1304
11  Netherlands1113
13  Luxembourg1102
14  Ukraine1001
15  Austria0101
17  Portugal0033
18  United States0022
19  Estonia0011
Totals (19 entries)103103103309

Jerseys edit

The leader of the overall general classification receives a white-and-green striped jersey. There are also three other classifications. The winner of the points classification (sprints) wears a white-and-orange striped jersey, a white-and-red striped jersey for the winner of the mountain classification and the jersey of the Catalonia regional cycling team is for the best classified Catalan. There is also a team classification.

See also edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank–SunGard) won the 2011 edition but was later disqualified.[19]

References edit

  1. ^ Wynn, Nigel. "UCI WorldTour calendar 2016". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Hood, Andrew. "Volta a Catalunya short of big climbs, but not big names". Velo News. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  3. ^ Axelgaard, Emil. "Volta a Catalunya stage 7 preview". Cycling Quotes. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  4. ^ "100 Años de Historia". (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "100 Anys d'Història". (in Catalan). Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "Sortiu, que pasa la 'Volta'". El Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Barcelona. p. 63. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  7. ^ "La "Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya es una prueba organizada por "Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya Asociación Deportiva". (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Tour of Catalonia – Spain. June 15-22 1995". Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  9. ^ "70th Volta Catalunya, Cat HC Spain, June 17-24, 1999". Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  10. ^ ""Sprint" mortal de Manuel Sanroma". El País. Ediciones El País, S.L. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  11. ^ "Stage 3, Vilanova i La Geltru – Barcelone, 155.6 kms". Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  12. ^ "85th Volta a Catalunya – PT Spain, May 16-22, 2005". Cycling News. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  13. ^ Tan, Anthony. "Stage 7 – May 22: Pallejà-Barcelona (Sants), 113,1 km. Popo wins Catalunya, Hushovd leads home the procession". Cycling News. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  14. ^ UCI Press release: UCI Management Committee meeting - Day 1 18-June-2009
  15. ^ "Contador wins Tour of Catalunya". Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  16. ^ Macur, Juliet. "Positive Test for Contador May Cost Him Tour Title". New York Times. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  17. ^ "CAS sanctions Contador with two year ban in clenbutorol case". Cyclingnews. 6 February 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  18. ^ a b Fotheringham, Alisdair (21 March 2015). "Preview: Contador and Froome headline at Volta a Catalunya". Cycling News. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  19. ^ Alberto Contador banned for two years after clenbuterol positive (in Catalan)

External links edit