|Cyclists from all over the world come to Spain for the Vuelta|
Vuelta a Andalucia - 2013 RACE
The 2013 race took place the 17 - 20 February. The three-stage route will take participants from San Fernando - Ubrique (18 February), from Trebujena - Montilla (19 February) and finally from Lucena - Rincón de la Victoria (20 February).
VUELTA A ANDALUCIA - 2012 RACE
The 2012 event took place 19-23 February. The route was Zahara de las Antunes - Benalmadena - Malaga - Lucena - Monte Mayor - Las Gabias - Jaen - La Guardia de Jaen. There were 16 teams from 8 countries, including the Andalucia team (previously Andalucia-Caja Granada). Alejandro Valverde of the MOVISTAR team was the race winner.
VUELTA A ANDALUCIA - 2011 RACE
In 2011 the race took place from 20-24 February over five stages: BENAHAVÍS - BENAHAVÍS, ALMUÑÉCAR - ADRA, OTURA - JAÉN, LA GUARDIA DE JAÉN - CÓRDOBA, CÓRDOBA - ANTEQUERA. There were six teams from Spain and 11 teams from Europe and USA. The Andalucia-Caja Granada team was the only Andalucian team in the race.
VUELTA A ANDALUCIA - 2007 Race
Both a cyclist and any spectator would love to take part as a V.I.P of the crazy caravan in a cycling tour. In Europe ‘The Ruta del Sol’ or ‘Vuelta de Andalucía’ (February) in Southern Spain is the first cycling competition. ‘The Tour de France’ (July) is certainly the most famous one and ‘The tour de Flanders’ (April) in Belgium is probably the most heroic. But the magic of these successful public events, the happiness and drama’s of the winners and losers, the stardom, the toys and the boys is universal – no matter where.
The Ruta del Sol in Andalucía is quite special. In February winter should be at its end in Southern Europe, but it can still cold and rainy. So it was last week, as the Vuelta was in the surroundings of the Sierra Nevada and more inland of remote Cazorla and Jaén.
Apart from the landscape it’s great to see the ‘couleur local’; the involvement of the local authorities, the local entrepreneurs, the local people. Each day the ambience at the meet turns into a real party. The sponsors are giving away their gadgets to the spectators, music sounds loud and the local speaker is giving comments hours before the arrival. All kinds of people have access to the different stands with beer, wine and food. It looks like the V.I.P badges have been generously distributed on purpose. Every day even two brand new mountain bikes are being raffled. After the finish of the three winners, they are soon assisted on the stage by the mayor, the head of police, sponsors and local beauties. Dozens of photographers are directed together, whilst a local specialist is coaching the crowd on stage how to behave in order to make the best photo shoots.
It’s remarkable how good the infrastructure of the roads is deep in inland Andalucía. Lots of lobbying and millions of Euros have made sure that even the most remote areas are easy accessible. However I noticed several unhappy faces of local olive farmers because many roads are blocked off for hours to let the cyclist caravan pass by safely.
But ‘the show must go on’, bread and games are still vital for the people, like the Romans taught us when they ruled over Cádiz more than 2,000 years ago.