The 2014 Vuelta a España took place between 23 August and 14 September 2014 and was the 69th edition of the race. It featured eight mountain stages, five hill stages, five flat stages, and three time trials (one team and two individual), two of which appeared at the beginning and end of the race. Jerez de la Frontera, on the Spanish south coast, hosted the opening stage. The Vuelta then went counterclockwise, through the south-east and east of the country before crossing the north and finishing in Santiago de Compostela. This was the first time in 21 years that the race has finished outside Madrid.
The race was won for the third time by Spanish rider, Alberto Contador, of Tinkoff-Saxo. Contador went into the race uncertain of his form after crashing out of the Tour on the 10th stage, breaking his tibia. However, Contador found his form in the race earlier than expected, taking the red jersey on the 10th stage individual time trial and taking two key mountain stage wins on his way to victory. He won the race by 1' 10" over runner-up, Chris Froome of Team Sky. Like Contador, Froome also went into the race uncertain of his form after he crashed three times in two days during the Tour, leading to his withdrawal. However, Froome came to life during the third week, finishing second in three key mountain stages and taking time to move into second place overall. Spanish rider Alejandro Valverde of the Movistar Team completed the podium, finishing 40 seconds behind Froome and 1 minute and 50 seconds behind Contador. Valverde also took the sixth stage of the race going to La Zubia, the race's first mountain stage.
The day before the Vuelta began, Chris Horner was withdrawn from the race due to low levels of cortisol. This is because Lampre-Merida are part of the Mouvement pour un cyclisme crédible (MPCC) which forbids cyclists from racing when cortisol concentrations drop below a specificed threshold. On stage 11, Nairo Quintana withdrew from the race after crashing twice in two days.
There were four main classifications contested in the 2014 Vuelta a España, with the most important being the general classification. The general classification was calculated by adding each cyclist's finishing times on each stage. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the race leader, identified by the red jersey; the winner of this classification was considered the winner of the Vuelta. In 2014, there were time bonuses given on mass-start stages; ten seconds were awarded to the stage winner, with six for second and four for third.
Additionally, there was a points classification, which awards a green jersey. In the points classification, cyclists get points for finishing among the best in a stage finish, or in intermediate sprints. The cyclist with the most points led the classification, and is identified with a green jersey. There was also a mountains classification. The organisation categorised some climbs as either Categoria Especial, first, second or third category; points for this classification were won by the first cyclists that reach the top of these climbs, with more points available for the higher-categorised climbs. The cyclist with the most points led the classification, and was identified with a blue polka dot jersey.
The fourth individual classification was the combination classification, marked by the white jersey. This classification is calculated by adding the numeral ranks of each cyclist in the general, points and mountains classifications – a rider must have a score in all classifications possible to qualify for the combination classification – with the lowest cumulative total signifying the winner of this competition.
For the team classification, the times of the best three cyclists per team on each stage were added; the leading team is the team with the lowest total time. For the combativity award, a jury gives points after each stage to the cyclists they considered most combative. The cyclist with the most votes in all stages leads the classification. For the daily combative winner, the rider in question donned a dossard with a red background, on the following stage.
In Stage 4 Danilo Wyss, who was second in the combination classification, wore the white jersey, because Lluís Mas (in first place) wore the blue polka-dot jersey as leader of the mountains classification during that stage.
In Stage 5, John Degenkolb, who was second in the points classification, wore the green jersey, because Michael Matthews (in first place) wore the red jersey as leader of the general classification during that stage.
In Stages 7–9, Chris Froome, who was second in the combination classification, wore the white jersey, because Alejandro Valverde (in first place) wore the red jersey as leader of the general classification during that stage.
In Stage 16, Joaquim Rodríguez, who was third in the combination classification, wore the white jersey, because Alejandro Valverde (in first place) wore the blue polka-dot jersey as leader of the mountains classification during that stage, while Alberto Contador (in second place) wore the red jersey as leader of the general classification during that stage.
In Stages 19–21, Alejandro Valverde, who was second in the combination classification, wore the white jersey, because Alberto Contador (in first place) wore the red jersey as leader of the general classification during that stage.