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Cycling History: Volta a Catalunya (the Tour of Catalonia)

The Volta a Catalunya is a professional road bicycle race in Catalonia, Spain. It is a part of the UCI World Tour, the premier men's elite road cycling tour. The inaugural edition of the Volta a Catalunya was held in 1911.


First edition organized by Mundo Deportivo

Mundo Deportivo is a Spanish sports newspaper. "Mundo Deportivo" means "Sports World". The newspaper is published in Barcelona. The first edition of Mundo Deportivo was issued on February 1, 1906. To promote the newspaper, they started to organize events. In 1911, they organized the first edition the Volta Ciclista Catalunya. Miquel Artimán, editor of cycling of Mundo Deportivo, was the director of the race.

One of the oldest

The Volta a Catalunya is one of the four oldest still-existing stage races in road cycling. The oldest is the Tour de France. The first edition of the French race was held in 1903. The first Tour of Belgium was organized in 1908. The first edition of the Giro d'Italia was held in 1909.

Catalunya (Catalonia)

Catalunya (Catalonia) is an autonomous community in the northeastern Spain. The community consists of four provinces: Girona, Barcelona, Tarragona and Lleida. The capital of Catalunya is Barcelona.

Flag of Catalonia


Most successful

The most successful rider in the history of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya is Mariano Cañardo Lacasta (1906-1987). He won seven editions of the race: 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1935, 1936 and 1939.

Mariano Canardo was born in Olite (Navarra). He orphaned at the age of 14 and moved to Barcelona. There he discovered the bike. He became one of the best Spanish cyclists of his area.

Miguel Indurain and Alejandro Valverde won this race three times. Indurain won the general classification in 1988, 1991 and 1992. Valverde won the race in 2009, 2017 and 2018.

Most stage wins

The Catalonian cycling hero Miguel Poblet (1928-2013) has won the most stages in the Volta Ciclista Catalunya. He has won 33 stages. Mariano Canardo has won 22 stages.

Per Country

Spain is the most successful country in the history of this bicycle race. Spain has won 60 editions. France has won 11 editions. Italy won 10 editions.

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Tragedy: Sanroma died in the 1999 Volta a Catalunya

Manuel Sanroma (born 1977) was a very talented sprinter from Ciudad Real, Spain. He became a pro cyclist in 1999.

In a stage in the 1999 Volta a la Communitat Valenciana, Sanroma astonished the cycling world: the rookie defeated the legendary Mario Cipollini in the sprint.

Sanroma was very strong in the spring of 1999. He also won stages in the Tour of Asturias and the Volta ao Alentejo. In the 1999 Volta Catalunya, the young Spanniard was a favorite for the second stage. One kilometer before the finish he fell and he struck his skull. Manuel Sanroma died of his injuries in an ambulance on his way to the hospital.

Monumento Manuel Sanroma



The Volta a Catalunya is organized by the ASO (Tour de France), together with the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya Associacio Esportiva and the Sants Sports Union.


Over the course of years, the Volta Ciclista Catalunya had several different calendar dates. Since 2010 the race is on the calendar in late March.


Usually, the race starts on the Costa Brava. The first stages are suited for sprinters. In the middle part of the race, the peloton visits the Pyrenees. A famous climb in the Volta a Catalunya is La Molina. The last stage of the race tradionally finishes in Barcelona. On the last day of the race, the peloton must climb the famous hill called Montjuïc for eight times.


The leader of the general classification in the Tour of Catalonia wears a white-and-green striped jersey.


The 2020 Volta a Catalunya was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to watch? Official Broadcasters

The live broadcasting of the race is produced by RTVE (Spain) and TVC (Catalonia). Who are the official broadcast partners (tv and live stream) for the Volta a Catalunya in other countries? The official broadcast partner in the USA is NBC Sports (tv). The Global Cycling Network (live stream) is the broadcast partner for Canada. In most European countries the race is televised by Eurosport. TV2 is the broadcast partner for Denmark (TV2 Sport) and Norway (TV2 Sportkanalen). DAZN (live stream) is the official broadcast partner for Japan.

UCI World Tour

The Volta a Catalunya is one out of four Spanish races in the UCI World Tour. The other Spanish races in the premier elite road cycling tour are the Clasica de San Sebastian, the Euskal Herriko Itzulia (Vuelta al País Vasco) and the Vuelta Ciclista a Espana.

© 2021 Van Staveren

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