The first race was held in 1935 after the worldwide success of the Tour de France, with only 50 riders competing on heavy steel-framed bicycles. There were 14 stages in total, equating to a grueling 3425km overall. Due to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, the Vuelta a Espana struggled to be held on a yearly basis, leading to frequent breaks until 1955, from which it has been held annually.
In the early years of the race, the majority of riders were of Spanish nationality. The outbreak of WWII meant that there were few international contenders until the war’s end in 1945. After this period, the race gained popularity and prestige leading to an influx of international cycling champions.
Over the years the race has drawn bigger and bigger crowds, despite having a reputation amongst riders as ‘training’ for other Tours. Due to the timing of the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, the Vuelta a Espana has sometimes lacked continental stars. However, the 2014 race will have many big names competing for the red jersey, including Alberto Contador, Nairo Quintana and Britain’s own Chris Froome. Last year’s winner Chris Horner will not be participating due to low cortisol levels.
Cycling in the warm climate will be challenging, with lots of treacherous hilly stages and climbs. However, this will most certainly make it an interesting and exciting Tour to watch!
Vuelta a Espana 2014 Stages
There are 21 stages in this year’s Vuelta a Espana, as seen below. These include two Individual Time Trials (ITT) as well as a Team Time Trial (TTT). There will also be 8 mountain stages with summit finishes.
The coloured jerseys in the Vuelta a Espana are nearly the same as the jerseys awarded in the Tour de France, except from the winning jersey. Also, the polka-dot jersey has blue spots instead of read.
The Red Jersey (maillot rojo)
The red jersey is the winning jersey, awarded to the leader of the General Classification (GC). However, it has only been red since 2010, with previous races using yellow, gold, white and orange.
The Green Jersey (maillot verde)
The green jersey is given to rider with the highest number of points. This is calculated by totaling the amount of points a rider has accumulated overall. Points are given at the finish line and for intermediate sprints.
The Polka-dot jersey is awarded to the best climber in the race, often referred to as King of the Mountains.
The combined classification jersey, the winner is determined by combining the points overall, the mountain points and green jersey points – a rider’s position in each competition is added and the lowest standing wins.
Team Sky will compete in the this year’s race, consisting of the following riders: Froome, Cataldo, Deignan, Kennaugh, Kiryienca, Knees, Nieve, and Row. We wish them the very best of luck!
Our Cycling Jewellery Gifts
A Grand Tour calls for a celebration…why not commemorate the Vuelta a Espana with some of our beautiful jewellery? Our road bike collection was designed to capture all of the beautiful elements of road racing in stunning sterling silver. We have included some of our favourite pieces from the collection below. If you wish to see any of the pieces in more detail, click the image.
You can customise the design of any jewellery piece to however you wish with our bespoke service, including engraving, coloured metals and gemstones.