Volta a Catalunya

Volta a Catalunya
Race details
Date Late March
Region Catalonia, Spain
English name Tour of Catalonia
Local name(s)

Vuelta a Cataluña (Spanish)

Volta a Catalunya (Catalan)
Discipline Road
Competition UCI World Tour
Type Stage race
Organiser "Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya Associació Esportiva (Unió Esportiva de Sants)
Race director Rubèn Peris
First edition 1911 (1911)
Editions 96 (as of 2016)
First winner  Sebastià Masdeu (ESP)
Most wins  Mariano Cañardo (ESP) (7 wins)
Most recent  Nairo Quintana (COL)

The Volta a Catalunya (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈbɔɫtə ə kətəˈɫuɲə]; English: Tour of Catalonia, Spanish: Vuelta a Cataluña) is a road bicycle race held annually in Catalonia, Spain. It is part of the UCI World Tour as the fifth event of the competition.[1] 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, running before in September, June and May. Since 2010 it is on the calendar in late March.

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, only after the amateur and sub-23 race Volta a Tarragona (1908), equally 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]


The pioneering days

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 stage 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 edition. After 1913 the Volta a Catalunya was suspended because of World War I and reprised in 1920, but was discontinued again the next two years because of the chaotic return of the race.[5]

Revival and Spanish Civil War

Mariano Cañardo won the race a record seven times.

The race was revived in 1923 for its fifth edition. The organization was taken over by the Unión Deportiva de Sants, which also supported Barcelonese 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

In the course of 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, Sean Kelly in 1984 and 1986. Miguel Indurain, 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 obtained 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 a 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]

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 kilometer 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

Joaquim Rodriguez won two times since 2010.

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 Rodriguez, the foremost Catalan rider of his generation, won the race twice since 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. Colombian Nairo Quintana won the latest edition in 2016.


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 jersey, a red jersey 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.


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

The race addresses the Pyrenees mountains in the middle part of the race, although the mountains are usually less high than before the date shift, due to often snowy and cold conditions on 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]


Rider Team
1911 Spain Masdeu, SebastiaSebastià Masdeu (ESP)
1912 Spain Magdalena, JosépJosép Magdalena (ESP)
1913 Spain Martí, JuanJuan Martí (ESP)
No race
1920 France Pelletier, JoseJosé Pelletier (FRA)
1921 No race
1922 No race
1923 France Ville, MauriceMaurice Ville (FRA) Automoto-Hutchinson
1924 Spain Mucio, MiquelMiquel Mucio (ESP) U.D. Sans
1925 Spain Mucio, MiquelMiquel Mucio (ESP) U.D. Sans
1926 France Fontan, VictorVíctor Fontan (FRA) individual
1927 France Fontan, VictorVíctor Fontan (FRA) individual
1928 Spain Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) Elvish-Wolber
1929 Spain Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) F.C. Barcelona
1930 Spain Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) Styl
1931 Spain Cardona, SalvadorSalvador Cardona (ESP) individual
1932 Spain Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) individual
1933 Italy Bovet, AlfredoAlfredo Bovet (ITA) Bianchi
1934 Italy Rogora, BernardoBernardo Rogora (ITA) Gloria
1935 Spain Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) Orbea
1936 Spain Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) Colin-Wolber
1937 No race
1938 No race
1939 Spain Canardo, MarianoMariano Cañardo (ESP) individual
1940 Luxembourg Didier, ChristopheChristophe Didier (LUX) Alcyon-Dunlop
1941 Spain Sancho, Antonio AndrésAntonio Andrés Sancho (ESP) individual
1942 Spain Ezquerra, FedericoFédérico Ezquerra (ESP) individual
1943 Spain Berrendero, JulianJulián Berrendero (ESP) F.C. Barcelona
1944 Spain Casas, MiguelMiguel Casas (ESP) individual
1945 Spain Ruiz, BernardoBernardo Ruiz (ESP) individual
1946 Spain Berrendero, JulianJulián Berrendero (ESP) Chiclès-Tabay
1947 Spain Rodriguez, EmilioEmilio Rodríguez (ESP) U.D. Sans-Alas Color-Minaco
1948 Spain Rodriguez, EmilioEmilio Rodríguez (ESP) U.D. Sans-Alas Color
1949 France Rol, EmileEmile Rol (FRA) La Perle-Hutchinson
1950 Spain Gelabert, AntonioAntonio Gelabert (ESP) individual
1951 Italy Volpi, PrimoPrimo Volpi (ITA) Arbos-Talbot
1952 Spain Poblet, MiguelMiguel Poblet (ESP) Canals & Nubiola
1953 Spain Botella, SalvadorSalvador Botella (ESP) individual
1954 Italy Serena, WalterWalter Serena (ITA) Bottecchia-Ursus
1955 Spain Gomez del Moral, JoseJosé Gómez del Moral (ESP) Minaco
1956 Spain Utset, AnicetoAniceto Utset (ESP) Mobylette-Coabania
1957 Spain Lorono, JesusJesús Loroño (ESP)
1958 Belgium Van Genechten, RichardRichard Van Genechten (BEL)
1959 Spain Botella, SalvadorSalvador Botella (ESP)
1960 Spain Poblet, MiguelMiguel Poblet (ESP)
1961 France Duez, HenriHenri Duez (FRA)
1962 Spain Karmany, AntonioAntonio Karmany (ESP)
1963 France Novales, JosephJoseph Novales (FRA)
1964 France Carrara, JosephJoseph Carrara (FRA)
1965 Spain Gomez del Moral, AntonioAntonio Gómez del Moral (ESP)
1966 Netherlands Den Hartog, ArieArie Den Hartog (NED)
1967 France Anquetil, JacquesJacques Anquetil (FRA)
1968 Belgium Merckx, EddyEddy Merckx (BEL)
1969 Spain Diaz, MarianoMariano Díaz (ESP)
1970 Italy Bitossi, FrancoFranco Bitossi (ITA)
1971 Spain Ocana, LuisLuis Ocaña (ESP)
1972 Italy Gimondi, FeliceFelice Gimondi (ITA)
1973 Spain Perurena, DomingoDomingo Perurena (ESP)
1974 France Thevenet, BernardBernard Thévenet (FRA)
1975 Italy Bertoglio, FaustoFausto Bertoglio (ITA)
1976 Spain Martinez, EnriqueEnrique Martínez (ESP)
1977 Belgium Maertens, FreddyFreddy Maertens (BEL)
1978 Italy Moser, FrancescoFrancesco Moser (ITA)
1979 Spain Belda, VicenteVicente Belda (ESP)
1980 Spain Lejarreta, MarinoMarino Lejarreta (ESP) Teka
1981 Spain Ruperez, FaustinoFaustino Ruperez (ESP) Zor
1982 Spain Fernandez, AlbertoAlberto Fernández (ESP) Teka
1983 Spain Recio, JosepJosep Recio (ESP) Kelme
1984 Republic of Ireland Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL) Skil-Sem
1985 United Kingdom Millar, RobertRobert Millar (GBR) Peugeot
1986 Republic of Ireland Kelly, SeanSean Kelly (IRL) KAS
1987 Spain Pino, AlvaroÁlvaro Pino (ESP) BH
1988 Spain Indurain, MiguelMiguel Indurain (ESP) Reynolds
1989 Spain Lejarreta, MarinoMarino Lejarreta (ESP) Caja Rural
1990 Spain Cubino, LaudelinoLaudelino Cubino (ESP) BH
1991 Spain Indurain, MiguelMiguel Indurain (ESP) Banesto
1992 Spain Indurain, MiguelMiguel Indurain (ESP) Banesto
1993 Colombia Mejia, AlvaroÁlvaro Mejía (COL) Motorola
1994 Italy Chiappucci, ClaudioClaudio Chiappucci (ITA) Carrera Jeans–Tassoni
1995 France Jalabert, LaurentLaurent Jalabert (FRA) ONCE
1996 Switzerland Zulle, AlexAlex Zülle (SUI) ONCE
1997 Spain Escartin, FernandoFernando Escartín (ESP) Kelme–Costa Blanca
1998 Colombia Buenahora, HernanHernan Buenahora (COL) Vitalicio Seguros
1999 Spain Beltran, ManuelManuel Beltrán (ESP) Banesto
2000 Spain Jimenez, Jose MariaJosé Maria Jimenez (ESP) Banesto
2001 Spain Beloki, JosebaJoseba Beloki (ESP) ONCE–Eroski
2002 Spain Heras, RobertoRoberto Heras (ESP) U.S. Postal Service
2003 Spain Pecharroman, Jose AntonioJosé Antonio Pecharromán (ESP) Costa de Almería-Paternina
2004 Spain Martin Perdiguero, Miguel AngelMiguel Ángel Martín Perdiguero (ESP) Phonak
2005 Ukraine Popovych, YaroslavYaroslav Popovych (UKR) Discovery Channel
2006 Spain Canaga, DavidDavid Cañada (ESP) Saunier Duval–Prodir
2007 Russia Karpets, VladimirVladimir Karpets (RUS) Caisse d'Epargne
2008 Spain Cesar, GustavoGustavo César (ESP) Karpin–Galicia
2009 Spain Valverde, AlejandroAlejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne
2010 Spain Rodríguez, JoaquimJoaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Team Katusha
2011 Italy Scarponi, MicheleMichele Scarponi[Note 1] (ITA) Lampre–ISD
2012 Switzerland Albasini, MichaelMichael Albasini (SUI) GreenEDGE
2013 Republic of Ireland Martin, DanDan Martin (IRL) Garmin–Sharp
2014 Spain Rodríguez, JoaquimJoaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Team Katusha
2015 Australia Porte, RichieRichie Porte (AUS) Team Sky
2016 Colombia Quintana, NairoNairo Quintana (COL) Movistar Team

Multiple winners

Riders in italics are still active.

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

Wins per Country

Wins Country
58  Spain
11  France
10  Italy
3  Belgium,  Colombia,  Ireland
2   Switzerland
1  Australia,  Luxembourg,  Netherlands,  Russia,  Ukraine,  United Kingdom

See also


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


  1. Wynn, Nigel. "UCI WorldTour calendar 2016". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 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". voltacatalunya.cat (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "100 Anys d'Història". voltacatalunya.cat (in Catalan). Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 "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". voltacatalunya.cat (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  8. "Tour of Catalonia - Spain. June 15-22 1995". autonus.cyclingnews.be. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  9. "70th Volta Catalunya, Cat HC Spain, June 17-24, 1999". autubus.cyclingnews.com. 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". autobus.cyclingnews.com. 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". sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  16. Macur, Juliet. "Positive Test for Contador May Cost Him Tour Title". New York Times. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Jr. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  17. "CAS sanctions Contador with two year ban in clenbutorol case". Cyclingnews. Future Publishing Limited. 6 February 2012. Retrieved 10 December 2015.
  18. 1 2 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 (Catalan)
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