Viva la Vuelta! - the story of Spain's great bike race
In the 70 years that the Vuelta a España has been running, it has survived a civil war,
four decades of dictatorship, periods of economic and diplomatic isolation, desperate years
when the country was close to famine, disruption through political violence, and finally the
restoration of democracy and Spain's welcome into the European Community.
The race has changed hands several times and been shifted from spring to late summer.
It has seen the triumph of stars like Anquetil, Merckx and Hinault; it has given a range of
other top cyclists such as Lucho Herrera and Sean Kelly the opportunity to taste the glory of
winning a great stage race; there have also been the unknowns who came along and, out of the
blue, surprised everybody by winning. And above all the history of the Vuelta recounts the
story of the Spanish cyclists, whose lives reflect the incredible changes their country has
undergone in those seventy years.
Viva la Vuelta! is also an account of a race trying to establish itself in an international
calendar where the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia had the advantage of a clear head-start.
At times the Vuelta has suffered from an inferiority complex, but its current organisers have
approached their race with an innovative spirit, always on the look-out for new routes and
mountains to climb, and seeking to create dynamic, fiercely contested stages. For many
followers of cycle-racing, the most interesting, and excitingly competitive racing of the
three major tours in recent years has been in Spain.
‘The Vuelta is often the most unpredictable of the major tours – you never know from one day to
the next what is going to happen. Viva la Vuelta! captures all the spirit and history of the
race and – just as fascinating – the great upheavals Spain has gone though in the course of the
- Phil Liggett MBE, Cycling Broadcaster OLN and ITV
‘As a relative newcomer to the big three tours, the Vuelta a España has progressively acquired
a wide international following. This book explains its evolution and beautifully captures its
- David Duffield, Cycling Broadcaster British Eurosport