Tour of the Basque Country

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Tour of the Basque Country
2019 Tour of the Basque Country
Tour of the Basque Country logo.svg
Race details
DateEarly-April
RegionSpanish Basque Country
English nameTour of the Basque Country
Local name(s)
  • Vuelta al País Vasco (in Spanish)
  • Euskal Herriko itzulia (in Basque)
DisciplineRoad
CompetitionUCI World Tour
TypeStage race
History
First edition1924 (1924)
Editions59 (as of 2019)
First winner Francis Pélissier (FRA)
Most wins
Most recent Ion Izagirre (ESP)

The Tour of the Basque Country (Officially: Itzulia Basque Country, Spanish: Vuelta al País Vasco, Basque: Euskal Herriko Itzulia) is an annual cycling stage race held in the Spanish Basque Country in April. It is one of the races that make up the UCI World Tour calendar. As the Basque Country is a mountainous area, there are few flat stages, and thus the event favors those who are strong climbers. The race is characterized by its short stages, rarely exceeding 200 km, and steep ascents. While the ascents featured in the race aren't particularly high compared to other stage races, they are among the steepest seen in professional cycling, some having sections with gradients reaching well above 20%.[1]

History[edit]

The original Tour of the Basque Country had a troubled history, with 8 editions contested between 1924 and 1935, before the civil war seemingly wiped it out for good. In spite of its short tenure, it is mentioned and described in Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises.

In 1952, the Eibar Cycling Club (erstwhile backers of Spain's first national stage race, the pre-Vuelta a España Gran Premio República) launched a new 3-day event called Gran Premio de la Bicicleta Eibarresa to celebrate its 25th anniversary. Former French national champion Louis Caput took the inaugural edition.

In 1969, organizers opted to promote the race (by then 5 stages long) as IX Vuelta al País Vasco - XVIII Bicicleta Eibarresa, effectively merging the Bicicleta Eibarresa into a reborn Tour of the Basque Country. However, the palmares of the Bicicleta Eibarresa (featuring Vuelta a España winners Jesús Loroño and Rolf Wolfshohl) is not recognized as part of the Tour of the Basque Country's history. The Eibar Cycling Club would relinquish control of the competition following the 1973 edition, while retaining the rights to the Bicicleta Eibarresa name, which has sporadically been reactivated to help promote other, lower ranked events.

The first winner of the Tour of the Basque Country was Francis Pélissier from France, while the first winner of the 'modern' Tour (1969) was Jacques Anquetil, also of France. The most successful riders in the history of the Tour are Spain's José Antonio González, who won the race four times in 1972, 1975, 1977 and 1978, and Spain's Alberto Contador, who also won the race four times in 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2016.

The most recent edition (2018) was won by Slovenia's Primož Roglič.

The winner traditionally dons a basque beret on the podium.

Winners[edit]

Rider Team
1924 France Francis Pélissier (FRA)
1925 Belgium Auguste Verdyck (BEL)
1926 Luxembourg Nicolas Frantz (LUX)
1927 France Victor Fontan (FRA)
1928 Belgium Maurice De Waele (BEL)
1929 Belgium Maurice De Waele (BEL)
1930 Spain Mariano Cañardo (ESP)
1931–
1934
No race
1935 Italy Gino Bartali (ITA)
1936–
1968
No race
1969 France Jacques Anquetil (FRA)
1970 Spain Luis Pedro Santamarina (ESP)
1971 Spain Luis Ocaña (ESP)
1972 Spain José Antonio González (ESP)
1973 Spain Luis Ocaña (ESP)
1974 Spain Miguel María Lasa (ESP)
1975 Spain José Antonio González (ESP)
1976 Italy Gianbattista Baronchelli (ITA)
1977 Spain José Antonio González (ESP)
1978 Spain José Antonio González (ESP)
1979 Italy Giovanni Battaglin (ITA)
1980 Spain Alberto Fernández (ESP)
1981 Italy Silvano Contini (ITA)
1982 Spain José Luis Laguía (ESP) Reynolds
1983 Spain Julián Gorospe (ESP) Reynolds
1984 Republic of Ireland Sean Kelly (IRL) Skil–Reydel–Sem–Mavic
1985 Spain Pello Ruiz Cabestany (ESP) Seat–Orbea
1986 Republic of Ireland Sean Kelly (IRL) Kas
1987 Republic of Ireland Sean Kelly (IRL) Kas
1988 Netherlands Erik Breukink (NED) Panasonic–Isostar–Colnago–Agu
1989 Republic of Ireland Stephen Roche (IRL) Fagor–MBK
1990 Spain Julián Gorospe (ESP) Banesto
1991 Italy Claudio Chiappucci (ITA) Carrera Jeans–Tassoni
1992 Switzerland Tony Rominger (SUI) CLAS–Cajastur
1993 Switzerland Tony Rominger (SUI) CLAS–Cajastur
1994 Switzerland Tony Rominger (SUI) Mapei–CLAS
1995 Switzerland Alex Zülle (SUI) ONCE
1996 Italy Francesco Casagrande (ITA) Saeco–AS Juvenes San Marino
1997 Switzerland Alex Zülle (SUI) ONCE
1998 Spain Íñigo Cuesta (ESP) ONCE
1999 France Laurent Jalabert (FRA) ONCE–Deutsche Bank
2000 Germany Andreas Klöden (GER) Team Telekom
2001 Lithuania Raimondas Rumšas (LTU) Fassa Bortolo
2002 Spain Aitor Osa (ESP) iBanesto.com
2003 Spain Iban Mayo (ESP) Euskaltel–Euskadi
2004 Russia Denis Menchov (RUS) Illes Balears–Banesto
2005 Italy Danilo Di Luca (ITA) Liquigas–Bianchi
2006 Spain José Ángel Gómez Marchante (ESP) Saunier Duval–Prodir
2007 Spain Juan José Cobo (ESP) Saunier Duval–Prodir
2008 Spain Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana
2009 Spain Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana
2010 United States Chris Horner (USA) Team RadioShack
2011 Germany Andreas Klöden (GER) Team RadioShack
2012 Spain Samuel Sánchez (ESP) Euskaltel–Euskadi
2013 Colombia Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar Team
2014 Spain Alberto Contador (ESP) Tinkoff–Saxo
2015 Spain Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Team Katusha
2016 Spain Alberto Contador (ESP) Tinkoff
2017 Spain Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team
2018 Slovenia Primož Roglič (SLO) LottoNL–Jumbo
2019 Spain Ion Izagirre (ESP) Astana

Multiple winners[edit]

Wins Rider Editions
4  José Antonio González (ESP) 1972, 1975, 1977, 1978
 Alberto Contador (ESP) 2008, 2008, 2015, 2016
3  Sean Kelly (IRL) 1984, 1986, 1987
 Tony Rominger (SUI) 1992, 1993, 1994
2  Maurice Dewaele (BEL) 1928, 1929
 Luis Ocaña (ESP) 1971, 1973
 Julián Gorospe (ESP) 1983, 1990
 Alex Zülle (SUI) 1995, 1997
 Andreas Klöden (GER) 2000, 2011

Most stage wins[edit]

# Rider Stage wins
1  Domingo Perurena (ESP) 11
 Seán Kelly (IRL) 11
3  Laurent Jalabert (FRA) 9
4  Tony Rominger (SUI) 8
 Samuel Sánchez (ESP) 8
6  Alberto Contador (ESP) 7
7  Miguel María Lasa (ESP) 6
 Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP) 6
 Alejandro Valverde (ESP) 6
9  José Antonio González Linares (ESP) 5
 Stefano Zanini (ITA) 5

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Middendorp, Koen. "Voorbeschouwing: Ronde van Het Baskenland 2019". Wieleflirts. Retrieved 12 April 2019.