Barcelona will host the official departure of La Vuelta 23. The 78th edition of the Spanish Grand Tour will take off with a T.T.T.that will take place entirely within the city. Barcelona will also host the second stage finish-line and will play a prominent role in such key, emblematic La Vuelta events as the team presentation gala and the filming of the race’s official videoclip, providing its natural settings as a backdrop.
This Monday, the 24th of January, the agreement was presented before Jaume Collboni, the Deputy Mayor of the Barcelona City Council, David Escudé, the Councillor for Sports, and Javier Guillén, General Director of La Vuelta.
AN EVENT WITH GLOBAL IMPACT
La Vuelta’s presence in Barcelona will boost the city’s international exposure as a sports capital and headquarters for large-scale events with high global impact. This impact can be seen, not just in the sporting aspect, but also in the economic aspect and in other such variables as the image or perception the territory creates. The route of the first two stages will be outlined in collaboration between the Barcelona City Council and the race organisation, both of whom seek to put together the best possible sports spectacle, all while showcasing the city’s most emblematic landmarks.
In this sense, the first Deputy Mayor of the City of Barcelona, Jaume Collboni, wished to highlight that “it’s a joint project for the different teams within the Barcelona City Council, who work tirelessly to host international events, including sports ones.” Collboni expressed that “today is a great day for Catalan and Spanish cycling as Barcelona is a city that has been traditionally linked with the world of sports and cycling in particular. To be the host of one of the three main cycling events worldwide fits perfectly with Barcelona’s international vocation.”
On his part, David Escudé, the Councillor for Sports, pointed out that “we’ve been waiting a long time to be able to present this project. Finally, 60 years later, Barcelona will host the official departure of La Vuelta once again. A lot has happened in that time. We are all for hosting large events and it makes all the sense in the world to bring La Vuelta to Barcelona, a city that is closely-linked to cycling, and has been for many years.”
Javier Guillén, the General Director of La Vuelta, stated that “For La Vuelta to start in Barcelona is a dream come true.” Guillén admitted to having “a strong personal connection to Barcelona, and I’m particularly grateful for the effort, passion and excitement that the Deputy Mayor has put into this project. Cycling is a sport with a strong popular following, currently placed at number two in terms of viewing and practice within Europe. Bikes are an essential element in the sustainable development of cities, which is why we’re so thrilled to be able to participate in this project.” The Director of La Vuelta added that “The official departure is like an event within the event, due to all the organisation involved. The route’s official presentation and the filming of the race’s official video will both take place in Barcelona. We want it to be a cycling celebration.”
Barcelona, thus, reinforces its commitment to using bicycles as an efficient and sustainable means of urban transport. The celebration of a first-level competition such as La Vuelta also helps to promote this initiative.
LA VUELTA RETURNS AFTER AN 11-YEAR ABSENCE
Barcelona is a city with a long-standing sporting tradition with close ties to cycling. This fact is evident through the numerous sporting events that take place there throughout the year – the Volta a Catalunya and the City of Barcelona International Track Cycling or Mountain Bike Trophy, in particular.
The last time La Vuelta stopped in Barcelona was in the race’s 2012 edition. The 9th stage left from Andorra and ended at Montjuïc, with Belgian rider Philippe Gilbert crossing the finish-line in first place.
Barcelona already hosted La Vuelta’s official departure in 1962, with a first linear stage spanning over 90 km that both started and ended within the city itself. Victory went to Antón Barrutia. The last time Barcelona held a time trial was back in 1978, also in Montjuïc. Victory went to Bernard Hinault, who inaugurated a brilliant victory tally featuring five Tours de France, three Giros d’Italia and two Vueltas.
The City of Barcelona has also seen the Tour de France ride through in 2009, with a stage finale won by Norwegian rider Thor Hushovd (stage 6) and the departure of the 7th stage. It also hosts an emblematic and historic cycling race every year: the Volta a Catalunya.
Barcelona is now preparing to receive La Vuelta once again. The event will be broadcast on TV in almost 200 countries, with daily average ratings of 1.5 million viewers in Spain. The race mobilises a travelling caravan that transports over 2500 people, among them over 600 journalists from around 20 countries, and over 200 different types of media. –www.lavuelta.es