2023 La Vuelta cycling race to start in Barcelona
Catalan capital to host first stage and finish line of second one
Barcelona will be the starting point of La Vuelta cycling race 2023. The city will host the first stage as well as the finish line for the second one. This will be the first time La Vuelta starts in the Catalan capital since 1962.
Stage one of La Vuelta cycling race will be a team time trial, as announced on Monday by local authorities. The city will also host the presentation of the cycling teams and be part of the official advertisement of the race.
The final route is still unknown as it will be announced by the end of 2022 or early in 2023.
Barcelona deputy mayor Jaume Collboni welcomed the news "as an important day for Catalan and Spanish cycling, as the city has always been linked to sports," he said. Adding that "being the host to one of the three most important cycling events worldwide follows Barcelona’s international openness."
The last time La Vuelta came to Barcelona was in 2012 to celebrate stage nine that started in Andorra and finished in Montjuïc Magic Fountains. At the time, Belgian cyclist Philippe Gilbert won the stage.
Meanwhile, it was in 1962, over 60 years ago, when the city was the starting point for La Vuelta. That year, the 90 km stage, started and finished in Barcelona and Spanish cyclist Antón Barrutia won.
In 1978, La Vuelta celebrated its last individual time trial, also at Montjuïc. Bernard Hinault won that stage, as well as the edition of the race. He then won 5 Tour de France races, 3 Italian Giro, and one La Vuelta more.
Le Tour visited the city
La Vuelta is one of the three most important cyclist events in the world, among France’s Tour and Italy’s Giro.
The city welcomed the french tour in 2009 for the finish line of stage six and the start point of the seventh stage.
Almost yearly, Barcelona also welcomes La Volta a Catalunya, Catalonia’s cyclist race. La Volta is one of the oldest cycling races, as the first edition was held in 1911. Just two years after the first Giro d'Italia (1909) and eight years after the first Tour de France race, in 1903.
La Vuelta is watched by over 1.5 million viewers in Spain, according to data shared by the City council. Over 200 countries broadcast the event and almost 20 have a live broadcast of the whole race.
The competition has a team of around 2,500 and 3,000 workers, including 600 journalists from dozens of countries and over 200 media outlets.
Catalonia’s marihuana viral moment
In September 2019, La Vuelta cycling race stage passed through Catalonia, and apart from the usual excitement of the race, viewers could enjoy picturesque images, including that of the iconic Montserrat mountain, becoming a hill for riders.
The aerial view provided by the organization showed beautiful landscapes of mountains, towns, fields… and unintentionally, also a marihuana farm on a rooftop in Igualada, central Catalonia, less than a kilometer from the finishing line.
Some spectators noticed and the footage went viral on social media, drawing the attention of the Catalan police, Mossos d’Esquadra.