Volta a Catalunya

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Volta a Catalunya
2022 Volta a Catalunya
Logotip Volta Ciclista a Catalunya.png
Race details
DateLate March
RegionCatalonia, Spain
English nameTour of Catalonia
Local name(s)Vuelta a Cataluña (in Spanish) Volta a Catalunya (in Catalan)
CompetitionUCI World Tour
TypeStage race
Organiser"Volta" Ciclista a Catalunya Associació Esportiva (Unió Esportiva de Sants)
Race directorRubèn Peris
Web sitewww.voltacatalunya.cat Edit this at Wikidata
First edition1911 (1911)
Editions101 (as of 2022)
First winner Sebastià Masdeu (ESP)
Most wins Mariano Cañardo (ESP) (7 wins)
Most recent Sergio Higuita (COL)

The Volta a Catalunya (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈbɔltə ə kətəˈluɲə]; English: Tour of Catalonia, Spanish: Vuelta a Cataluña) is a road bicycle race held annually in Catalonia, Spain.

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 has been on the calendar in late March as part of the UCI World Tour.[1]

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]

In 2018, the one-day women's competition reVolta was organised on the same day of the last men's stage.


The pioneering days[edit]

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[edit]

Mariano Cañardo won the race a record seven times in the 1920s and 1930s.

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[edit]

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]

Spanish allround specialist Alejandro Valverde is the first rider since Miguel Indurain to win the Volta a Catalunya three times.

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[edit]

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. The 2020 edition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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]


Year Country Rider Team
1911  Spain Sebastià Masdeu
1912  Spain Josép Magdalena
1913  Spain Juan Martí
No race due to World War I
1920  France José Pelletier
1921 No race
1922 No race
1923  France Maurice Ville Automoto-Hutchinson
1924  Spain Miquel Mucio U.D. Sans
1925  Spain Miquel Mucio U.D. Sans
1926  France Víctor Fontan individual
1927  France Víctor Fontan individual
1928  Spain Mariano Cañardo Elvish-Wolber
1929  Spain Mariano Cañardo F.C. Barcelona
1930  Spain Mariano Cañardo Styl
1931  Spain Salvador Cardona individual
1932  Spain Mariano Cañardo individual
1933  Italy Alfredo Bovet Bianchi
1934  Italy Bernardo Rogora Gloria
1935  Spain Mariano Cañardo Orbea
1936  Spain Mariano Cañardo Colin-Wolber
1937 No race due to Civil War
1938 No race due to Civil War
1939  Spain Mariano Cañardo individual
1940  Luxembourg Christophe Didier Alcyon-Dunlop
1941  Spain Antonio Andrés Sancho individual
1942  Spain Fédérico Ezquerra individual
1943  Spain Julián Berrendero F.C. Barcelona
1944  Spain Miguel Casas individual
1945  Spain Bernardo Ruiz individual
1946  Spain Julián Berrendero Chiclès-Tabay
1947  Spain Emilio Rodríguez U.D. Sans-Alas Color-Minaco
1948  Spain Emilio Rodríguez U.D. Sans-Alas Color
1949  France Emile Rol La Perle-Hutchinson
1950  Spain Antonio Gelabert individual
1951  Italy Primo Volpi Arbos-Talbot
1952  Spain Miguel Poblet Canals & Nubiola
1953  Spain Salvador Botella individual
1954  Italy Walter Serena Bottecchia-Ursus
1955  Spain José Gómez del Moral Minaco
1956  Spain Aniceto Utset Mobylette-Coabania
1957  Spain Jesús Loroño
1958  Belgium Richard Van Genechten
1959  Spain Salvador Botella
1960  Spain Miguel Poblet
1961  France Henri Duez
1962  Spain Antonio Karmany
1963  France Joseph Novales
1964  France Joseph Carrara
1965  Spain Antonio Gómez del Moral
1966  Netherlands Arie Den Hartog
1967  France Jacques Anquetil
1968  Belgium Eddy Merckx
1969  Spain Mariano Díaz
1970  Italy Franco Bitossi
1971  Spain Luis Ocaña
1972  Italy Felice Gimondi
1973  Spain Domingo Perurena
1974  France Bernard Thévenet
1975  Italy Fausto Bertoglio
1976  Spain Enrique Martínez
1977  Belgium Freddy Maertens
1978  Italy Francesco Moser
1979  Spain Vicente Belda
1980  Spain Marino Lejarreta Teka
1981  Spain Faustino Ruperez Zor
1982  Spain Alberto Fernández Teka
1983  Spain Josep Recio Kelme
1984  Ireland Sean Kelly Skil-Sem
1985  Great Britain Robert Millar Peugeot
1986  Ireland Sean Kelly KAS
1987  Spain Álvaro Pino BH
1988  Spain Miguel Indurain Reynolds
1989  Spain Marino Lejarreta Caja Rural
1990  Spain Laudelino Cubino BH
1991  Spain Miguel Indurain Banesto
1992  Spain Miguel Indurain Banesto
1993  Colombia Álvaro Mejía Motorola
1994  Italy Claudio Chiappucci Carrera Jeans–Tassoni
1995  France Laurent Jalabert ONCE
1996   Switzerland Alex Zülle ONCE
1997  Spain Fernando Escartín Kelme–Costa Blanca
1998  Colombia Hernan Buenahora Vitalicio Seguros
1999  Spain Manuel Beltrán Banesto
2000  Spain José Maria Jimenez Banesto
2001  Spain Joseba Beloki ONCE–Eroski
2002  Spain Roberto Heras U.S. Postal Service
2003  Spain José Antonio Pecharromán Costa de Almería-Paternina
2004  Spain Miguel Ángel Martín Perdiguero Phonak
2005  Ukraine Yaroslav Popovych Discovery Channel
2006  Spain David Cañada Saunier Duval–Prodir
2007  Russia Vladimir Karpets Caisse d'Epargne
2008  Spain Gustavo César Karpin–Galicia
2009  Spain Alejandro Valverde Caisse d'Epargne
2010  Spain Joaquim Rodríguez Team Katusha
2011  Italy Michele Scarponi[Note 1] Lampre–ISD
2012   Switzerland Michael Albasini GreenEDGE
2013  Ireland Dan Martin Garmin–Sharp
2014  Spain Joaquim Rodríguez Team Katusha
2015  Australia Richie Porte Team Sky
2016  Colombia Nairo Quintana Movistar Team
2017  Spain Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team
2018  Spain Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team
2019  Colombia Miguel Ángel López Astana
2020 No race due to COVID-19 pandemic
2021  Great Britain Adam Yates Ineos Grenadiers
2022  Colombia Sergio Higuita Bora–Hansgrohe

Multiple winners[edit]

Wins Rider Editions
7  Mariano Cañardo (ESP) 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1935, 1936, 1939
3  Miguel Indurain (ESP) 1988, 1991, 1992
 Alejandro Valverde (ESP) 2009, 2017, 2018
2  Miguel Mucio (ESP) 1924, 1925
 Victor Fontan (FRA) 1926, 1927
 Emilio Rodríguez (ESP) 1947, 1948
 Miguel Poblet (ESP) 1952, 1960
 Salvador Botella (ESP) 1953, 1959
 Marino Lejarreta (ESP) 1980, 1989
 Sean Kelly (IRL) 1984, 1986
 Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP) 2010, 2014

Wins per country[edit]

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

Most stage wins[edit]

# Rider Stage wins
1  Miguel Poblet (ESP) 33
2  Mariano Cañardo (ESP) 22
3  Domingo Perurena (ESP) 14
4  Emilio Rodríguez (ESP) 12
5  Mario Cipollini (ITA) 11
6  Miguel Gual (ESP) 10
7  Alejandro Valverde (ESP) 9
8  Laurent Jalabert (FRA) 8
 Seán Kelly (IRL) 8
 Johan van der Velde (NED) 8
 Julián Berrendero (ESP) 8


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-and-orange striped jersey, a white-and-red striped jersey for 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.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ a b c d 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. ^ a b c d e f g "100 Anys d'Història". voltacatalunya.cat (in Catalan). Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  6. ^ a b c "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. 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. ^ a b 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 (in Catalan)

External links[edit]