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The history of La Vuelta a Espana
When people think of cycling, minds are more inclined to envision Tour de France or even Giro d'Italia (Tour of Italy). The Tour of Spain may be unfamiliar to some, but it is a major cycling race in Spain known as "La Vuelta a Espana."
The La Vuelta a Espana was started by Clemente Lopez Doriga and Juan Pujol. It first took place in 1935 consisting of 14 stages in the late spring. Gustaaf Deloor was La Vuelta a Espana's first winner (who also happened to be German). In 1937 La Vuelta came to a halt because of the Spanish Civil War and resumed soon after, eventually coming to another halt during World War II. It wasn't until 1955 that La Vuelta a Espana became an annual event, gradually gaining more participants and notoriety.
Since 1955, La Vuelta a Espana began to pick up speed, mainly with the French and Italian cyclists of the day and then increasingly through the late '60s, with Eastern European cyclists. Throughout the '70s, '80s and '90s, as La Vuelta a Espana became more of a staple worldwide, winners of La Vuelta a Espana became more familiar, such as: Eddy Merckx and Jan Ullrich of Germany and also Carlos Sastre of Spain.
August 20, 2011 started the 66th La Vuelta a Espana. During the many years of La Vuelta a Espana's existence, the layout of the race has changed. Instead of 14 stages, La Vuelta a Espana now has 21 stages and is now held in the fall of each competition year. Stage profiles are depicted as: 9 flat stages, 10 mountain stages, 1 team time-trial stage and 1 individual time-trial stage.
Through all three weeks of La Vuelta a Espana, cyclists endure severe weather changes, equipment malfunctions and slick, wet roads. Cyclists who compete in La Vuelta a Espana compete for the "Leader's Jersey", which consists of the color red, marking the cyclist in the lead.
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