2008 Vuelta a España
Overview of the stages
|Dates||30 August – 21 September|
|Distance||3,133.8 km (1,947 mi)|
|Winning time||80h 40' 23"|
The 2008 Vuelta a España was the 63rd edition of the Vuelta a España, one of cycling's Grand Tours. The race began with a 7 km (4.3 mi) team time trial on 30 August in Granada. The Vuelta came to a close twenty-three days later with a 102.2 km (63.5 mi) flat stage, which brought the peloton into the streets of Madrid. Nineteen teams entered the race, which was won by the Spaniard Alberto Contador of Astana. Second and third respectively were the American Levi Leipheimer of Astana and the Spanish Carlos Sastre of CSC–Saxo Bank.
Alberto Contador first gained the race lead after the race's thirteenth stage, which contained a summit finish on the Alto de El Angliru. Contador took the lead from Euskaltel–Euskadi's Egoi Martínez, who had held the race lead for four stages. Through the first nine days of racing the race leader's golden jersey had been worn by eight different riders. The day after Contador gained the lead of the race, he attacked again and won the stage, while also expanding his lead over his competitors. Contador lost about thirty seconds to his teammate Levi Leipheimer in the stage 20 individual time trial, but together he and Levi further distanced themselves from the other general classification contenders.
Contador's win at the Vuelta allowed him to become the first Spaniard - and the fifth person in the history of cycling - to win all three Grand Tours in a career. At the age of 25, Contador became the youngest person to ever win all three Grand Tours. Contador was also the third cyclist to ever win the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta in the same calendar year. In addition to the general classification, Contador also won the combination classification. In the race's other classifications, Silence–Lotto's Greg Van Avermaet won the points classification and David Moncoutié of the Cofidis team won the mountains classification. Finally, Caisse d'Epargne won the team classification, which ranked each of the nineteen teams contesting the race by lowest cumulative time.
A total of 19 teams were invited to participate in the 2008 Vuelta a España. Sixteen of the competing squads were UCI ProTour teams, while the other three teams were UCI Professional Continental taems. Each team sent a squad of nine riders, so the Vuelta began with a peloton of 171 cyclists. Out of the 171 riders that started this edition of the Giro d'Italia, a total of 131 riders made it to the finish in Madrid. Team Columbia chose not participate in the race, as they withdrew their application to compete in the Vuelta in order to race the Tours of Ireland, Britain, and Missouri. While Scott–American Beef - formerly known as Saunier Duval-Scott - was excluded from the event as a result of the doping cases of Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli in the 2008 Tour de France.
The 19 teams invited to the race were:
†: Invited Pro-continental teams
Routes and Stages
This edition of the Vuelta contained three time trial events, two of which were individual and one a team event. Six stages were classified as mountain stages, while two stages were deemed intermediate stages. Ten of the stages were designated as flat stages, which meant that they were primarily flat but could contain a climb or two of a lesser category.
|1||30 August||Granada||7.7 km (5 mi)||Team time trial||Liquigas|
|2||31 August||Granada to Jaén||167.3 km (104 mi)||Flat stage||Alejandro Valverde (ESP)|
|3||1 September||Jaén to Córdoba||168.6 km (105 mi)||Flat stage||Tom Boonen (BEL)|
|4||2 September||Córdoba to Puertollano||170.3 km (106 mi)||Flat stage||Daniele Bennati (ITA)|
|5||3 September||Ciudad Real||42.5 km (26 mi)||Individual time trial||Levi Leipheimer (USA)|
|6||4 September||Ciudad Real to Toledo||150.1 km (93 mi)||Flat stage||Paolo Bettini (ITA)|
|5 September||Rest day|
|7||6 September||Barbastro to Naturlandia-La Rabassa (Andorra)||223.2 km (139 mi)||Mountain stage||Alessandro Ballan (ITA)|
|8||7 September||Escaldes-Engordany (Andorra) to Plá de Beret||151 km (94 mi)||Mountain stage||David Moncoutié (FRA)|
|9||8 September||Vielha e Mijaran to Sabiñánigo||200.8 km (125 mi)||Intermediate stage||Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)|
|10||9 September||Sabiñánigo to Zaragoza||151.3 km (94 mi)||Flat stage||Sébastien Hinault (FRA)|
|11||10 September||Calahorra to Burgos||178 km (111 mi)||Flat stage||Óscar Freire (ESP)|
|12||11 September||Burgos to Suances||186.4 km (116 mi)||Intermediate stage||Paolo Bettini (ITA)|
|12 September||Rest day|
|13||13 September||San Vicente de la Barquera to Alto de El Angliru||209.5 km (130 mi)||Mountain stage||Alberto Contador (ESP)|
|14||14 September||Oviedo to Fuentes de Invierno||158.4 km (98 mi)||Mountain stage||Alberto Contador (ESP)|
|15||15 September||Cudillero to Ponferrada||202 km (126 mi)||Mountain stage||David García (ESP)|
|16||16 September||Ponferrada to Zamora||186.3 km (116 mi)||Flat stage||Tom Boonen (BEL)|
|17||17 September||Zamora to Valladolid||148.2 km (92 mi)||Flat stage||Wouter Weylandt (BEL)|
|18||18 September||Valladolid to Las Rozas||167.4 km (104 mi)||Flat stage||Imanol Erviti (ESP)|
|19||19 September||Las Rozas to Segovia||145.5 km (90 mi)||Mountain stage||David Arroyo (ESP)|
|20||20 September||La Granja de San Ildefonso to Alto de Navacerrada||17.1 km (11 mi)||Individual time trial||Levi Leipheimer (USA)|
|21||21 September||San Sebastián de los Reyes to Madrid||102.2 km (64 mi)||Flat stage||Matti Breschel (DEN)|
|Total||3,133.8 km (1,947 mi)|
The 2008 Vuelta a España began with a short team time trial in Granada, a traditional city in the history of the Vuelta, having hosted a stage start or finish 39 previous times. Though Astana and Team CSC Saxo Bank were thought to be favorites to win this stage, the top team was Liquigas, which put their team leader Filippo Pozzato in the first golden jersey. This set the stage for an extremely turbulent first week in terms of race leadership, as Alejandro Valverde, Daniele Bennati, Levi Leipheimer, Sylvain Chavanel, and Alessandro Ballan would all don the maillot oro between the race's beginning and Stage 7. All but Chavanel did this by virtue of stage wins - Chavanel, for his part, had been 2 seconds behind Leipheimer for the race lead after the Vuelta's first individual time trial (ITT), and took it the next day thanks to time bonuses in intermediate sprints.
After the first rest day came the Vuelta's longest stage, said to be the queen stage, as it had many high mountain climbs and an extremely difficult climb to the finish in Andorra. As it happened, the day the stage was run was marked by consistent rain and cold temperatures, making the stage harder still. Ballan won this stage from a breakaway and took the overall lead, but he was unable to remain in contention the next day. Leipheimer, who had been in second overall, re-assumed the overall lead. In Stage 9, Leipheimer's Astana team afforded a breakaway including Egoi Martínez sufficient time that Martínez took the overall lead, meaning that through nine stages the race lead had only been retained from one day to the next one time.
The next several stages were flat, and won by sprinters and breakaways, meaning Martínez was able to retain the overall lead for a time. Stage 13, which ended at the storied Alto de El Angliru, revealed the race's overall contenders. Alberto Contador won the stage and in so doing gained a lead over Leipheimer, Carlos Sastre, Ezequiel Mosquera, and Valverde which he would never relinquish. Contador padded this lead by winning the stage the next day, and kept it in the race's second and final ITT, where his strongest challenger was ironically his teammate Leipheimer.
The points classification was won by Belgian Silence–Lotto rider Greg Van Avermaet, who had won Stage 9 and finished in the top ten of nine other stages. The King of the Mountains went to Cofidis' David Moncoutié, also a stage winner. The summit stage finish won by Moncoutié as well as points gained by topping climbs at the head of the peloton in the Angliru stage proved to propel Moncoutié into the red jersey. The combination classification, an award unique to the Vuelta among the Grand Tours, was won by Contador, as his first in the General Classification, second in the points classification, and third in the King of the Mountains Classification was by far the strongest combined showing by any rider. With the overall victory, Contador became the first Spaniard and fifth rider ever to complete the career sweep of the Grand Tours.
In the 2008 Vuelta a España, four different jerseys were awarded. For the general classification, calculated by adding the finishing times of the stages per cyclist, the leader received a golden jersey. This classification is considered the most important of the Vuelta a España, and the winner of the general classification is considered the winner of the Vuelta.
Additionally, there was also a points classification, which awarded a blue jersey. In the points classification, cyclists received points for finishing in the top 15 in a stage. The winner got 25 points, second place 20, third 16, fourth 14, fifth 12, sixth 10, and one point per place less down the line, to a single point for fifteenth. In addition, some points could be won in intermediate sprints.
There was also a mountains classification, which awarded a red jersey. In the mountains classifications, points were won by reaching the top of a mountain before other cyclists. Each climb was categorized, with most of the climbs being either first, second, third, or fourth category. There were also two "special category" climbs (equivalent to Hors Categorie in the Tour de France), the stage finishes into Andorra and the Alto de El Angliru. "Special category" climbs paid 30 points for the first rider over the summit, then 25, 20, 16, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1. First category climbs paid 16 points for the leader, then 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1, second category climbs 10, 7, 5, 3, 2 and 1, and third category climbs 6, 4, 2 and 1.
Finally, there was the combination classification. This was calculated by adding the rankings in the general, points and mountains classifications; the cyclist with the lowest combined ranking was the leader in the combination classification, and received a white jersey.
There was also a classification for teams. In this classification, the times of the best three cyclists per stage were added, and the team with the lowest time was leader.
The rows in the following table correspond to the jerseys awarded after that stage was run.
- Jersey wearers when one rider is leading two or more competitions
If a cyclist leads two or more competitions at the end of a stage, he receives all those jerseys. In the next stage, he can only wear one jersey, and he wears the jersey representing leadership in the most important competition (golden first, then blue, then red, then white). The other jerseys that the cyclists owns are worn in the next stage by the second-place (or, if needed, third or fourth-place) rider in that classification.
- In stage 3, Davide Rebellin, who was in second in the points classification, wore the blue jersey, because Alejandro Valverde (in first place) wore the golden jersey as leader of the general classification during that stage.
- In stage 5, Tom Boonen, who was in second in the points classification, wore the blue jersey, because Daniele Bennati (in first place) wore the golden jersey as leader of the general classification during that stage.
- In stage 8, Marc de Maar, who was in second in the mountains classification, wore the red jersey, because Alessandro Ballan (in first place) wore the golden jersey as leader of the general classification during that stage.
- In stages 8, Levi Leipheimer, who was in second in the combination classification, wore the white jersey, because Alessandro Ballan (in first place) wore the golden jersey as leader of the general classification during that stage.
- In stages 14 through 21, Levi Leipheimer, who was in second in the combination classification, wore the white jersey, because Alberto Contador (in first place) wore the golden jersey as leader of the general classification during those stages.
- In stages 15 and 16, Greg Van Avermaet, who was in second in the points classification, wore the blue jersey, because Alberto Contador (in first place) wore the golden jersey as leader of the general classification during those stages.
- In stage 17, Tom Boonen, who was in second in the points classification, wore the blue jersey, because Alberto Contador (in first place) wore the golden jersey as leader of the general classification during that stage.
|Denotes the winner of the General classification||Denotes the winner of the Mountains classification|
|Denotes the winner of the Points classification||Denotes the winner of the Combination classification|
|1||Alberto Contador (ESP)||Astana||80h 40' 08"|
|2||Levi Leipheimer (USA)||Astana||+ 46"|
|3||Carlos Sastre (ESP)||CSC–Saxo Bank||+ 4' 12"|
|4||Ezequiel Mosquera (ESP)||Xacobeo–Galicia||+ 5' 19"|
|5||Alejandro Valverde (ESP)||Caisse d'Epargne||+ 6' 00"|
|6||Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP)||Caisse d'Epargne||+ 6' 50"|
|7||Robert Gesink (NED)||Rabobank||+ 6' 55"|
|8||David Moncoutié (FRA)||Cofidis||+ 10' 10"|
|9||Egoi Martínez (ESP)||Euskaltel–Euskadi||+ 10' 57"|
|10||Marzio Bruseghin (ITA)||Lampre||+ 11' 56"|
|1||Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)||Silence–Lotto||158|
|2||Alberto Contador (ESP)||Astana||137|
|3||Alejandro Valverde (ESP)||Caisse d'Epargne||129|
|4||Levi Leipheimer (USA)||Astana||116|
|5||Koldo Fernández (ESP)||Euskaltel–Euskadi||88|
|6||Matti Breschel (DEN)||CSC–Saxo Bank||69|
|7||Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP)||Caisse d'Epargne||69|
|8||Sébastien Hinault (FRA)||Crédit Agricole||68|
|9||Ezequiel Mosquera (ESP)||Xacobeo–Galicia||67|
|10||David Moncoutié (FRA)||Cofidis||65|
King of the Mountains classification
|1||David Moncoutié (FRA)||Cofidis||149|
|2||Christophe Kern (FRA)||Crédit Agricole||106|
|3||Alberto Contador (ESP)||Astana||99|
|4||Juan Manuel Gárate (ESP)||Quick-Step||89|
|5||Levi Leipheimer (USA)||Astana||65|
|6||Ezequiel Mosquera (ESP)||Xacobeo–Galicia||56|
|7||Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP)||Caisse d'Epargne||51|
|8||Alejandro Valverde (ESP)||Caisse d'Epargne||48|
|9||Iñigo Landaluze (ESP)||Euskaltel–Euskadi||46|
|10||Maarten Tjallingii (NED)||Silence–Lotto||43|
|1||Alberto Contador (ESP)||Astana||6|
|2||Levi Leipheimer (USA)||Astana||11|
|3||Alejandro Valverde (ESP)||Caisse d'Epargne||16|
|4||Ezequiel Mosquera (ESP)||Xacobeo–Galicia||19|
|5||David Moncoutié (FRA)||Cofidis||19|
|6||Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP)||Caisse d'Epargne||20|
|7||Carlos Sastre (ESP)||CSC–Saxo Bank||26|
|8||Robert Gesink (NED)||Rabobank||41|
|9||David Arroyo (ESP)||Caisse d'Epargne||50|
|10||Juan Manuel Gárate (ESP)||Quick-Step||58|
|1||Caisse d'Epargne||241h 20' 38"|
|2||Euskaltel–Euskadi||+ 39' 22"|
|3||CSC–Saxo Bank||+ 39' 35"|
|4||Astana||+ 42' 01"|
|5||Xacobeo–Galicia||+ 51' 31"|
|6||Lampre||+ 1h 14' 51"|
|7||Rabobank||+ 1h 17' 22"|
|8||Ag2r–La Mondiale||+ 1h 27' 42"|
|9||Crédit Agricole||+ 1h 28' 56"|
|10||Silence–Lotto||+ 1h 42' 42"|
- "Un triplete para los elegidos" (PDF) (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 22 September 2008. p. 51. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
- Gregor Brown (21 September 2008). "Breschel tops sprint ahead of historic Contador win". Cycling News. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Gregor Brown (13 September 2008). "Contador reigns in Vuelta's most feared day". Cycling News. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
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- Shane Stokes (3 September 2008). "Double success for Leipheimer". Cycling News. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Bjorn Haake (4 September 2008). "Bettini is back as Chavanel storms into golden jersey". Cycling News. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Gregor Brown (6 September 2008). "Ballan takes dramatic season first win". Cycling News. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Gregor Brown (7 September 2008). "Moncoutié delivers solo punch ahead of Astana show". Cycling News. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Shane Stokes (8 September 2008). "Van Avermaet scoops biggest triumph, Martinez grabs lead". Cycling News. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Gregor Brown (14 September 2008). "Contador puts golden stamp on Vuelta". Cycling News. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
- Gregor Brown (20 September 2008). "Leipheimer and Contador deliver one-two Astana punch". Cycling News. Retrieved 29 July 2009.