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Vuelta Extra!
By Podofdonny
Date: 9/6/2002
Vuelta Extra!

News Just in

Not exactly Vuelta news but Gordon McCauley will stay with RDM Flanders next season. He has reached an agreement today and hopes to finalise the contract this week.

"The team will be a lot stronger next season, RDM Flanders have already signed McGrory and Gilmore and will be looking to ride better events such as the Tour of Belgium. The cherry on the cake as far as I am concerned is that I will remain team leader and have an option to join a Division One team should one make an offer."

With Julian Dean leading the Hessen Rundfahrt and McCauley making the Vuelta Extra - what will stop those kiwis on bikes next season?

Vuelta - Short History

In 1935 La Vuelta was organised for the first time. 50 were the brave riders who dared to start that first race; 32 of them were Spanish and 18 were from abroad. From that year on until today, 56 editions have been celebrated. On September 7th, edition number 57 will be started in Valencia with 207 riders. The number of riders taking part in this competition has changed enormously: from those 50 riders of 1935, there were 198 taking part in the edition of 1990. Those first editions just gathered a group of brave riders and a group of people organising the race; nowadays Vuelta a España has become a top-level event followed by more than 500 million people all over the world. Year after year, the people organising and following this race have acquired such a level of experience that it has become one of the most followed sport events in the world.

All along these 56 editions, many different stories have been written about the real protagonists; stories that only cycling and the riders could offer with their dedication and sacrifice. 24 Spanish riders have climbed to the top of the podium- the last one and in front of the Puerta de Alcalá has been Angel Luis Casero- but the golden list is also full of famous riders from France, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Holland, Colombia and Ireland.

Being this, one of the three biggest races in stages, Vuelta a España has planned a good route, there will be an outstanding lineup of riders at the starting line and the organising firm will try in every possible way, and with the most advanced technology, to do their best so as this top-level sport can reach its real goal.

Just like in 2001, La Vuelta is in for what has been called the cycling of the XXI century, that is, constant fight and competitiveness in every possible way from the very beginning. This modern cycling philosophy has been very much appreciated by the organisers of the two other big races in stages: Le Tour and Il Giro.

The experience of the organising firm (Unipublic) and the own history of La Vuelta have also been very useful in order to organise a race where the stages will be short but intense and whose protagonists´ main aim is to become the protagonist of an exciting fight. As the Spanish relief is so changing, we are always looking for new challenges such as La Covatilla or trying to maintain the most daring ones such as El Angliru.

La Vuelta 2002 will have the best riders in the world taking part and will start with a team time trial in Valencia; from there they will ride towards Sierra Nevada, and then the mountain ranges in the middle of the country will serve as a good training for the riders as they will have to face the very high mountains in the Principado de Asturias; from there they will climb down to the central area of the country again and finally finishing in Madrid where we will celebrate "the Madridista centenary" in the capital city on the 29th of September.


Many followers will find it difficult to recognize Fernando Escartín dressed in yellow and black, colours of the Team Coast. The rider from Biescas said good bye to Kelme-Costa Blanca last season and now he will be riding Vuelta a España with Angel Casero and Allex Zulle. Escartín is a real legend when talking about cycling; he learnt from Tony Rominger and Abraham Olano when he was riding with Clas and then he taught everything he knows to riders such as Roberto Heras and Oscar Sevilla.

Professional rider since 1990, now that he is 34, still feels in the mood for climbing, suffering, learning and teaching others. In the last Italian Giro, he climbed to the highest tops along with the very best riders. His perseverance to keep on fighting has not fainted at all, therefore he is one of the stars in this new edition of Vuelta a España. This year he has not taken part in Le Tour, so in September he will be on top form. He got second position overall in Vuelta 97 and 98; his followers think that he can reach any top or anywhere with the top riders. This year, Fernando Escartín will be of good help for his leader Angel Casero.

Juan Carlos Guillamón,

There are certain riders who are forced to fight in a very special way for their team. Those riders called "modest" have to fight in every battle. But when talking about Juan Carlos Guillamón, he has a double mission. He is the Spanish Route Champion. He got his title in Salamanca and now he must defend it in La Vuelta.

Besides, Miguel Moreno´s pupil wants to get a place with the Spanish Team who will take part in the next World Championship; therefore he must show a very good performance in La Vuelta. Guillamón is 27 years old and has a lot of hope on his future. He started his career in Portugal with Gresco-Tavira and, for three years, he showed he felt at ease among the best. He is very fast and cunning at the finish lines. He will be one of the stars of Jazztel- Costa de Almería.

Juan Carlos Domínguez The Italian Giro, this year, gave us a beautiful present: a Spanish rider leading the Overall Standings the first day. The prologue of Il Giro was won by Juan Carlos Domínguez. He will be Alvaro Pino´s star with the Swiss Phonak. The rider from Iscar, with 31 years old, comes to La Vuelta on a very good form. He has been a professional rider for seven years and his progress has been really good. In Vuelta a Comunidad Valenciana, in Vuelta a Murcia, in Setmana Catalana, in La Rioja, in Aragón and in Vuelta a Asturias, Juan Carlos Domínguez has showed that he is a real champion.

He is able to combine the hardness of the mountain with the fight against the clock. He will be one of the stars in this edition of Vuelta a España and helped by Alvaro Pino he will have to do his best. He has quality enough to achieve which ever goal

Juan Miguel Mercado will try to show their best in this edition of Vuelta a España and Juan Miguel Mercado will be one of their stars. At 24, the rider from Granada will be one of the favourites within the Spanish peloton. Not many people are aware of the great effort the Spanish riders must do to reach the first positions when competing in Portugal.

Two years ago, Mercado was the best young rider in Vuelta a Portugal and got the fifth position overall. That year he was king of the mountain in Galicia. The following year he was one of the best in the Portuguese race, he stepped on the podium on the third position and then he was on so good form that he won two stages, one of them, Lagos de Covadonga in Vuelta a España. His development has been great and now helped by Jose Miguel Echávarri and Eusebio Unzue, we can expect the best from this rider. The podium in Madrid will be his goal and he knows he can get there!

Courtesy of La Vuelta

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