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Viva la Vuelta!, by Lucy Fallon and Adrian Bell

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The newly updated history of Spain's Grand Tour.

Roberto Heras
Roberto Heras
(c) Getty Images

Viva la Vuelta!, by Lucy Fallon and Adrian BellTitle: Viva la Vuelta! The History of Spain's Great Cycle Race, 1935-2013
Authors: Lucy Fallon and Adrian Bell (foreword by Sean Kelly)
Publisher: Mousehold Press
Year: 2005 (updated 2013)
Pages: 416
Order: Mousehold
What it is: The first and only English-language history of the Spanish Grand Tour, telling the story of each edition of the race from 1935 through to 2013
Strengths: Comprehensive and rescues stories which have been lost in the shadow of the other two Grand Tours. As well as being a look at the history of the race and of the men who have won it, the book also looks at Spanish history and the race's place within that broader context.
Weaknesses: The usual problem that afflicts such books - sixty races, three hundred and thirty-five pages, do the math. That said it's not quite the sprint through the years that some books about the Tour de France tend to be.

Where do we begin? A quarter-to-eight in the morning of the last Monday in April, 1935, when the Mayor of Madrid waved a flag and 50 riders set forth from the Puerta de Atocha for a 3,425 kilometre, 17 day clockwise circumnavigation of Spain? Months before that, on the day that Clemente López Dóriga convinced Juan Pujol to throw the weight of the Madrid-based Informaciones behind a Spanish version of L'Auto's Tour de France and La Gazzetta dello Sport's Giro d'Italia? Or 22 years earlier, when the Barcelona-based El Mundo Deportivio failed to launch a Tour of Spain and had instead to settle for developing the Volta a Catalunya? Do we skip forward, past the Civil War, and start with the Vuelta of 1941, organised by the Ministry of Education and Leisure, the 1942 Vuelta organised by Informaciones or the 1945 edition organised by Ya? Or maybe we should just jump all the way forward to 1955 when Alejandro Echevarría and the Basque newspaper El Correo Español-El Pueblo Vasco stepped in and the Vuelta finally began to run without interruption? Instead of any of this, how about we begin by just saying that the Vuelta's birth was troubled and its parentage is confusing?

The Vuelta a España's birth was troubled, and its parentage is confusing, and this perhaps explains the long struggle the race has endured to carve out its own identity. The Vuelta's identity crisis - is it a real race in its own right, a leg-loosener for others (the Giro in the past, the Worlds now), or a second chance after failure at the other two Grand Tours? - means that is is hard to find riders you can fully identify the race with it, not the way you can, say, Alfredo Binda and the Giro d'Italia, or Lance Armstrong and the Tour de France. In 101 editions, the Tour has been one by 60 different men, 19 of them winning more than once. In 97 editions, the Giro d'Italia has been won by 63 men, 20 of them winning more than once. The Vuelta, in its 68 editions, 56 men have won, with only 10 of them having won the race more than once. And of those 10, there are only two who have won more than twice: Tony Rominger (1992-1994) and Roberto Heras (2000, 2003-4).

Roberto Heras is where the history of the Vuelta a España gets ... complicated. Viva la Vuelta! was first published in 2005, the year Heras won his fourth Vuelta. Two months after that Vuelta ended, in November of 2005, it was announced that Heras had tested positive. He was stripped of his win and it was awarded to Denis Menchov. Then Heras appealed. Only instead of appealing to CAS Heras took his case to a Spanish court. In 2011 the Contencioso Administrativo del Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Castilla y León ruled in his favour, ordering he be cleared of the doping charge. The Spanish federation appealed the court's decision, but were unsuccessful. That was in December of 2012. A year on, Heras initiated court proceedings to recover earnings lost as a consequence of his doping ban, which he estimated at one million euros. It is now unclear what is happening - will the Spanish federation accept the court's decision and order Heras be reinstated as winner of the 2005 Vuelta, can they appeal further, or are they just ignoring it all in the hope that everyone will forget about it? - and exactly how many editions of the Vuelta Heras has won.

Heras had won his first Vuelta in 2000, riding in the colours of the Kelme squad bossed by Vicente Belda:

"There was enormous satisfaction that the Vuelta had fallen into the hands of a climber, for the first time since Pedro Delgado had won it in 1989. It was also a fittings 20th anniversary present for Kelme, marred only by the disappointing news that Heras would be deserting his old team and riding for US Postal next season, as a gregario de lujo. It seemed that Armstrong had wiped out a rival with his cheque book, and people knew they were being cheated of afternoons of battle and suspense, but the accusations of lack of ambition were unfair, as Heras was very conscious of his weakness in time-trials. A modern champion is expected to shine in all fields, and like Pedro Delgado before him, who went abroad to PDM to broaden his skills, Heras had every hope that he might learn some new tricks in a foreign team."


The following year, in a Vuelta less suited to escaladores, Heras had to settle for fourth, behind USPS team-mate Levis Leipheimer, former Kelme team-mate Óscar Sevilla and 2000 rival Ángel Casero. A year on, still with USPS, he was settling for second behind former Kelme team-mate Aitor González in a race that wasn't decided until the last day. It was 2003 before Heras was able to join Gustaaf Deloor, Julián Barrendero, José Manuel Fuente, Bernard Hinault, Pedro Delgado, Tony Rominger, and Alex Zülle in having win the Vuelta more than once, waiting until the penultimate stage, a final crono-escalada, to take the race lead and swap his USPS jersey for the maillot amarillo.

Come 2004, Heras had had enough of living in the shadow of Armstrong and exited USPS, returning to Spain, but not to the Kelme squad (now flying under the colours of Comunidad Valenciana) and instead headed for Liberty Seguros, Manolo Saiz's successor to ONCE. Heras was fortunate, in some respects, that he didn't return to the fold of Vicente Belda, for that Spring - as the Cofidis affaire raged and attention turned to GB cycling's enfant terrible David Millar, and as the cycling world tried to come to terms with the death of Marco Pantani and the deaths of several other riders - Heras's former team-mate Jesús Manzano (who had been sacked by Belda during the 2003 Vuelta, having been caught with a woman in his hotel room) decided to break with omertà and do an interview for AS in which he openly discussed the doping he had witnessed and experienced while a member of the Kelme team. Two years later, the seed sown by Manzano bloomed into Operación Puerto. By then, of course, Heras was already consigned to the naughty step.

Tour of Spain, 2004Puerto, though, was just a cloud on the far off horizon come the 2004 Vuelta, a Vuelta for which race organisers Unipublic had responded to widespread criticism over the over use of national highways in the 2003 race by inviting and acting upon suggested improvements:

"Vicente Belda, who hails from Alicante, was asked to improve the stage finishing on the Alto de Aitana and he proposed the Puerto de Torremanzanas. Never included in a race before, although well-known among local cyclists, it would add an extra touch of difficulty. Juan Martínez Oliver, the director of the small Spanish team Paternina, suggested the imposing Puerto de Calar Alto in Almería, 20 kilometres long, the home of an astronomical observatory on its 2,168 metre crest, which gives locals an occasional glimpse of snow. Paco Cabello, one of Kelme's riders, added a couple of twists to the route of the Sierra Nevada time-trial, while Laudelino Cubino, who'd been on the Vuelta podium ten years earlier, recommended a return to the ski station of La Covatilla, outside Béjar, his and Roberto Heras' home town."

Having already failed at the Tour - where Heras abandoned four stages from home - Liberty Seguros's Vuelta got off to a rotten start, Heras ceding a minute and a half to his former USPS team-mates in the opening team time trial. Over the course of the next week Heras was able to reclaim 20 seconds or so as USPS played pass the parcel with the leader's jersey, Floyd Landis passing it to Max van Heeswijk who passed it to Benoît Joachim who passed it to Manuel Beltrán before, at the end of the eighth stage, the first individual time trial, Landis took it back, and also pushed Heras back to nearly two and a half minutes in arrears.

This was the stage won by Phonak's Tyler Hamilton and after which he tested positive for a blood transfusion, news of which would break later in the race. That time trial victory had moved Hamilton to within half a minute of the race lead, but any shot he had at the overall title he squandered the very next day when he lost 10 minutes as Heras went on the rampage and put a minute into Landis at the end of the race's first big summit finish, atop the fifteen hundred metre Alto de Aitana.

At the summit finish on the Xoret de Catí the next day thoughts turned to the late José Maria Jiménez (whose death preceded that of Pantani), the four-time Vuelta King of the Mountains who had won on the Xoret's one-in-five slopes when it made its first appearance in the race in 1998. For Landis, the only thought was how much longer he could hold on to the maillot amarillo, his lead being hacked away at for the second day in succession: Heras was now within 50 seconds of the lead, while Alejandro Valverde was practically within touching distance of the the American.

"When the peloton embarked on stage 11, they were setting off for Murcia, Valverde's homeland. He was enthusiastically hovering behind Floyd Landis' shoulder, only nine seconds away from the gold jersey. Alejandro Valverde was the apple of Vicente Belda's eye. After the infamous Manzano confessions, Kelme [now operating as Comunidad Valenciana-Kelme] had been refused an invitation to the Tour de France, and were being excluded from the ProTour, which Belda suspected was largely down to Manolo Saiz, who was heavily involved in its organisation [Saiz headed up the team managers' organisation, the AIGCP]. So it was of some consolation that Kelme still had Spain's brightest new star in their ranks, although his future career might lie elsewhere.

"The importance of Valverde, not for for his team, but for the race and the whole nation, became clear when he crashed early on the Murcia stage. His chain jammed, and catapulted him over the handlebars. On TV, the national hero's shredded jersey was displayed to the viewers. bruised, morally and physically, he wanted to abandon, but the cyclists encouraged him to continue, easing the pace till he was over the worst of the shock. David Zabriskie of US Postal had escaped and was out alone when it happened, enough for him to resist the peloton's acceleration and win [after soloing 162 of the stage's 165 kilometres]."

When the racing resumed after the first of two rest days the injured Valverde was still within nine seconds of the race lead and Heras was at 47", with team-mate Isidor Nozal ahead of him at 32" and Illes Balears' Francisco Mancebo at 29". The peloton now headed into Spaghetti Western country for the Vuelta's etapa reina, featuring the climb to the astronomical observatory on Calar Alto, suggested by Paternina's Juan Martínez Oliver. The riders actually had to climb up to the observatory twice, once coming in from the north, having already climbed the Alto de Velefique, and then - after descending to Gérgal - they were routed back up to the observatory for the stage finish. Heras' Liberty Seguros team-mates took a fistful of dynamite to the Vuelta and, when the dust had settled, the defending champion was back in the maillot amarillo, with Mancebo at 35", the bandaged but not totally banjaxed Valverde at 49", Nozal at 1'12" and Landis down and out at 2'19".

The Vuelta's Queen stage was followed by a rolling rest day for the escaladores, the sprinters getting to duke it out in Málaga. Then the race was back to climbing, with Tyler Hamilton's Phonak team-mate Santiago Pérez showing off some surprising form and Valverde trying to put Heras under pressure, but to no avail. Then came the crono-escalada to Sierra Nevada. Heras had a 'mare of a day, not quite a full blown pájara but certainly not a day when he was firing on all cylinders. Unlike Valverde, who put 44 seconds into the race leader and climbed to just five seconds off the lead. And unlike the revelation of the race Santi Pérez, who stormed to the stage win and shot up to the bottom step of the podium, 1'45" in arrears.

Manolo Saiz, Heras' director deportivio, looked increasingly glum as Heras seemed to be sliding out of contention while Valverde's team boss, Vicente Belda was almost as exuberant as his rider, believing the best was yet to come. Álvaro Pino, Pérez's boss, he must have been quite conflicted, aware of the storm that was about the break over Hamilton's blood test but also aware that he was on the verge of pulling off a major upset, Pérez having cut 2'50" off a 4'35" deficit in just three stages (most of Pérez's four minute deficit had come in the individual time trial, where he lost more than three minutes and he had only been able to begin recouping time after Hamilton had pulled out of the race).

News of Hamilton's positive - at both the Vuelta and the Athens Olympics - broke when the race returned from its second and final rest day and filled in for the ennui of a a transition stage. When the climbing returned - with the seventeenth stage finishing at the ski station of La Covatilla, in the hills above Heras' native Béjar - the defending champion was like a new man and was finally able to put Valverde to the sword, launching an attack that caused Vicente Belda's star rider to blow up and lose two minutes. But Heras was unable to shake Pérez who, despite the problems the Hamilton news was causing for Phonak, was riding like a man who believed he could still win the Vuelta. Three kilometres from the finish Pérez attacked and this time it was Heras playing the Valverde role and unable to responded, allowing the Phonak rider to climb to 1'13" off the race lead with four stages remaining.

In the two stages that followed the overall position remained unchanged and then the Vuelta reached its penultimate day and its final summit finish, the Puerto de Navacerrada:

"Santi Pérez aimed to win a minute off Heras. For once, the weather was mercifully cool. Pérez waited until four kilometres from the top to make his move, and Heras had to work hard to stay on his wheel. When the Asturian lifted the pace even more, Heras wisely backed off, confronting what remained of the climb at his own rhythm. 'I might've cracked if I'd tried not to lose his wheel,' he confessed. His rival no longer in view, Heras was able to steel his mind and resist, limiting his losses to 29 seconds."

The Vuelta ended with a 28 kilometres time trial in Madrid. A year before Heras - who was then still riding for USPS - crushed Nozal's hopes on the equivalent of this stage. A year before that it was Heras tasting defeat on the last day as Aitor González whipped the gold jersey away from him. (The Vuelta had actually had a three year run of the race being won on the last day, Ángel Casero having taken the jersey from Óscar Sevilla in 2001.) So, going into the time trial, Heras knew he couldn't afford another day like he had on the crono-escalada. If the first time trial was any guide, the day was going to go in Heras's favour: he had lost 1'37" to Hamilton while Pérez had ceded 2'51". That first time trial, though, was no form guide: Pérez actually stormed the course, taking the stage win, and Heras had to defend himself as he limited his losses, allowing the Phonak rider to come within 30 seconds of pulling off a major upset.

Stage General Classification
Stage 1
Sat 4 Sep
León (TTT)
189 starters - 187 finishers
28 km
30'45"
54.6 kph
US Postal Service Floyd Landis (USA)
US Postal Service
Rated climbs: (960m) Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service
Other Classifications: Points - Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service; KOM - Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service; Combination - Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service; Teams - US Postal Service
Stage 2
Sun 5 Sep
León to Burgos
187 starters - 187 finishers
207 km
5h02'05"
41.1 kph
Alessandro Petacchi (Ita)
Fassa Bortolo
Max van Heeswijk (Ned)
US Postal Service
Other Classifications: Points - Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile; KOM - Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service; Combination - Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service; Teams - US Postal Service
Stage 3
Mon 6 Sep
Burgos to Soria
187 starters - 187 finishers
157 km
3h43'17"
42.2 kph
Alejandro Valverde (Esp)
Comunidad Valenciana
Benoît Joachim (Lux)
US Postal Service
Other Classifications: Points - Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis; KOM - Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service; Combination - Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service; Teams - US Postal Service
Stage 4
Tue 7 Sep
Soria to Zaragoza
187 starters - 187 finishers
167 km
4h23'01"
38.1 kph
Alessandro Petacchi (Ita)
Fassa Bortolo
Benoît Joachim (Lux)
US Postal Service
Rated climbs: Puerto de Lanzas Agudas (660m) David Fernández (Esp) Paternina
Other Classifications: Points - Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile; KOM - Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service; Combination - Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service; Teams - US Postal Service
Stage 5
Wed 8 Sep
Zaragoza to Morella
187 starters - 183 finishers
186.5 km
5h07'44"
36.4 kph
Denis Menchov (Rus)
Illes Balears
Manuel Beltrán (Esp)
US Postal Service
Rated climbs: Puerto de Torremiró (1,260m) Juan Manuel Gárate (Esp) Lampre; Morella(980m) Denis Menchov (Rus) Illes Balears
Other Classifications: Points - Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis; KOM - Juan Manual Gárate (Esp) Lampre; Combination - Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service; Teams - US Postal Service
Stage 6
Thu 9 Sep
Benicarló to Castellón de la Plana
183 starters - 181 finishers
157 km
3h48'23"
41.2 kph
Óscar Freire (Esp)
Rabobank
Manuel Beltrán (Esp)
US Postal Service
Rated climbs: Puerto de la Mirona (570m) Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Lampre; Coll de la Bandereta (830m) Manuel Quinziato (Ita) Lampre; Alto del Desierto de las Palmas (450m) Francisco Mancebo (Esp) Illes Balears
Other Classifications: Points - Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis; KOM - Francisco Mancebo (Esp) Illes Balears; Combination - Manuel Beltrán (Esp) US Postal Service; Teams - US Postal Service
Stage 7
Fri 10 Sep
Castellón de la Plana to Valencia
181 starters - 180 finishers
165 km
3h53'04"
42.5 kph
Alessandro Petacchi (Ita)
Fassa Bortolo
Manuel Beltrán (Esp)
US Postal Service
Rated climbs: Coll de Marianet (400m) José Miguel Elias (Esp) Relax; Puerto de Montemayor (950m) José Miguel Elias (Esp) Relax
Other Classifications: Points - Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile; KOM - Francisco Mancebo (Esp) Illes Balears; Combination - Denis Menchov (Rus) Illes Balears; Teams - US Postal Service
Stage 8
Sat 11 Sep
Almusafes (Factoría Ford) (ITT)
180 starters - 180 finishers

40.1 km
47'16"
50.9 kph
Tyler Hamilton (USA)
Phonak Hearing Systems(1)
Floyd Landis (USA)
US Postal Service
Vacated
Other Classifications: Points - Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile; KOM - Francisco Mancebo (Esp) Illes Balears; Combination - Floyd Landis (USA) US Postal Service; Teams - US Postal Service
Stage 9
Sun 12 Sep
Játiva to Alto de Aitana
178 starters - 166 finishers
170 km
4h29'36"
37.8 kph
Leonardo Piepoli (Ita)
Saunier Duval
Floyd Landis (USA)
US Postal Service
Rated climbs: Puerto de Albaida (600m) Vladimir Miholjević (Cro) Alessio; Alto de la Margarida (620m) David Fernández (Esp) Paternina; Alto de Tollos (830m) David Fernández (Esp) Paternina; Puerto de Tudons (1,020m) David Fernández (Esp) Paternina; Alto de Torremanzanas (885m) Félix Cárdenas (Col) Cafés Baqué; Puerto de Benifallim (1,030m) Félix Cárdenas (Col) Cafés Baqué; Alto de Aitana (1,520m) Leonardo Piepoli (Ita) Saunier Duval
Other Classifications: Points - Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile; KOM - David Fernández (Esp) Paternina; Combination - Francisco Mancebo (Esp) Illes Balears; Teams - US Postal Service
Stage 10
Mon 13 Sep
Alcoy to Xorret de Catí
166 starters - 163 finishers
174.5 km
4h31'57"
38.5 kph
Eladio Jiménez (Esp)
Comunidad Valenciana
Floyd Landis (USA)
US Postal Service
Rated climbs: Alto de Benixama (970m) José Miguel Elias (Esp) Relax; Puerto de Biar (820m) José Miguel Elias (Esp) Relax; Alto de Tibi (730m) José Miguel Elias (Esp) Relax; Puerto de la Carrasqueta (1,020m) José Miguel Elias (Esp) Relax; Alto Xorret de Catí (1,090m) Eladio Jiménez (Esp) Comunidad Valenciana
Other Classifications: Points - Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis; KOM - José Miguel Elias (Esp) Relax; Combination - Francisco Mancebo (Esp) Illes Balears; Teams - Comunidad Valenciana
Stage 11
Tue 14 Sep
San Vicente del Raspeig to Caravaca de la Cruz
163 starters - 163 finishers

165 km
4h05'31"
40.3 kph
David Zabriskie (USA)
US Postal Service(2)
Floyd Landis (USA)
US Postal Service
Vacated
Other Classifications: Points - Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis; KOM - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Combination - Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Comunidad Valenciana; Teams - Comunidad Valenciana
Wed 15 Sep Rest Day
Stage 12
Thu 16 Sep
Almería to Observatorio de Calar Alto
162 starters - 149 finishers
145 km
4h19'30"
33.5 kph
Roberto Heras (Esp)
Liberty Seguros
Roberto Heras (Esp)
Liberty Seguros
Rated climbs: Alto de Velefique (1,800m) Francisco José Lara (Esp) Paternina; Alto de Calar Alto (2,160m) Francisco José Lara (Esp) Paternina; Observatorio de Calar Alto (2,090m) Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros
Other Classifications: Points - Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Cofidis; KOM - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Combination - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Teams - Comunidad Valenciana
Stage 13
Fri 17 Sep
El Ejido to Málaga
148 starters - 148 finishers
172 km
4h01'55"
42.7 kph
Alessandro Petacchi (Ita)
Fassa Bortolo
Roberto Heras (Esp)
Liberty Seguros
Other Classifications: Points - Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile; KOM - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Combination - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Teams - Comunidad Valenciana
Stage 14
Sat 18 Sep
Málaga to Granada
147 starters - 140 finishers
167 km
4h06'34"
40.6 kph
Santiago Pérez (Esp)
Phonak Hearing Systems
Roberto Heras (Esp)
Liberty Seguros
Rated climbs: Alto Ventas Zafarraya (910m) Jorge Ferrio (Esp) Paternina; Alto de los Bermejales (1,150m) Constantino Zaballa (Esp) Saunier Duval; Alto de Monachil (1,490m) Santiago Pérez (Esp) Phonak Hearing Systems
Other Classifications: Points - Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile; KOM - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Combination - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Teams - Comunidad Valenciana
Stage 15
Sun 19 Sep
Granada to Sierra Nevada (ITT)
139 starters - 139 finishers
29.6 km
1h02'29"
28.4 kph
Santiago Pérez (Esp)
Phonak Hearing Systems
Roberto Heras (Esp)
Liberty Seguros
Rated climbs: Sierra Nevada (2,100m) Santiago Pérez (Esp) Phonak Hearing Systems
Other Classifications: Points - Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile; KOM - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Combination - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Teams - Comunidad Valenciana
Mon 20 Sep Rest Day
Stage 16
Tue 21 Sep
Olivenza to Cáceres
139 starters - 138 finishers
190 km
4h19'23"
44.0 kph
José Julía (Esp)
Comunidad Valenciana
Roberto Heras (Esp)
Liberty Seguros
Other Classifications: Points - Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile; KOM - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Combination - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Teams - Comunidad Valenciana
Stage 17
Wed 22 Sep
Plasencia to Estación de Esquí la Covatilla (Béjar)
138 starters - 130 fiishers
170 km
4h52'08"
34.9 kph
Félix Cárdenas (Col)
Cafés Baqué
Roberto Heras (Esp)
Liberty Seguros
Rated climbs: Puerto de Piornal (1,270m) Félix Cárdenas (Col) Cafés Baqué; Puerto de Honduras (1,430m) Félix Cárdenas (Col) Cafés Baqué; Alto de el Cerro (1,040m) Félix Cárdenas (Col) Cafés Baqué; Estación de Esquí la Covatilla (1,500m) Félix Cárdenas (Col) Cafés Baqué
Other Classifications: Points - Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile; KOM - Félix Cárdenas (Col) Cafés Baqué; Combination - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Teams - Comunidad Valenciana
Stage 18
Thu 23 Sep
Béjar to Ávila
127 starters - 125 finishers
196 km
5h02'59"
38.8 kph
Javier Pascual Rodríguez (Esp)
Comunidad Valenciana
Roberto Heras (Esp)
Liberty Seguros
Rated climbs: Alto de Vallejera (1,200m) Félix Cárdenas (Col) Cafés Baqué; Puerto de la Peña Negra (1,910m) Juan Fuentes (Esp) Saeco; Puerto de Serranillos (1,575m) Juan Fuentes (Esp) Saeco; Puerto de Navalmoral (1514m) Ivan Parra (Col) Cafés Baqué
Other Classifications: Points - Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile; KOM - Félix Cárdenas (Col) Cafés Baqué; Combination - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Teams - Comunidad Valenciana
Stage 19
Fri 24 Sep
Ávila to Collado Villalba
124 starters - 119 finishers
142 km
3h33'32"
39.9 kph
Constantino Zaballa (Esp)
Saunier Duval
Roberto Heras (Esp)
Liberty Seguros
Rated climbs: Alto de Valdelavia (1,450m) Félix Cárdenas (Col) Cafés Baqué; Puerto de Santa María (1,450m) Constantino Zaballa (Esp) Saunier Duval; Alto de Robledondo (1,400m) Constantino Zaballa (Esp) Saunier Duval; Alto de Abantos (1,670m) Constantino Zaballa (Esp) Saunier Duval; Alto de Robledondo (1,400m) Constantino Zaballa (Esp) Saunier Duval; Alto San Lorenzo de el Escorial (1,040m) Constantino Zaballa (Esp) Saunier Duval
Other Classifications: Points - Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile; KOM - Félix Cárdenas (Col) Cafés Baqué; Combination - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Teams - Comunidad Valenciana
Stage 20
Sat 25 Sep
Alcobendas to Puerto de Navacerrada
119 starters - 1119 finishers
178 km
4h52'20"
36.5 kph
José Enrique Gutiérrez (Esp)
Phonak Hearing Systems
Roberto Heras (Esp)
Liberty Seguros
Rated climbs: Puerto de la Morcuera (1,796m) Eladio Jiménez (Esp) Comunidad Valenciana; Puerto de Cotos (1,840m) Eladio Jiménez (Esp) Comunidad Valenciana; Alto del León (1,510m) Eladio Jiménez (Esp) Comunidad Valenciana; Alto de Los Angeles de San Rafael (1,280m) Eladio Jiménez (Esp) Comunidad Valenciana; Puerto de Navacerrada (1,880m) José Enrique Gutiérrez (Esp) Phonak Hearing Systems
Other Classifications: Points - Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile; KOM - Félix Cárdenas (Col) Cafés Baqué; Combination - Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros; Teams - Comunidad Valenciana
Stage 21
Sun 26 Sep
Madrid (ITT)
119 starters - 119 finishers
28.2 km
35'05"
48.2 kph
Santiago Pérez (Esp)
Phonak Hearing Systems
Roberto Heras (Esp)
Liberty Seguros

1) David Zabriskie was stripped of his Vuelta stage win - and all others between 13 May 2003 and 31 July 2006 - following evidence he gave to the USADA USPS investigation in 2012.
2) Tyler Hamilton was stripped of his Vuelta stage win having tested positive following it.

Final Classification
1 Roberto Heras (ESP) Liberty Seguros 3,035.4 km
77h42'46"
39.1 kph
2 Santiago Pérez (ESP) Phonak + 30"
3 Francisco Mancebo (ESP) Illes Balears + 2'13"
4 Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Comunidad Valenciana + 3'30"
5 Carlos García Quesada (ESP) Comunidad Valenciana + 7'44"
6 Carlos Sastre (ESP) CSC + 8'11"
7 Isidro Nozal (ESP) Liberty Seguros + 8'32"
8 José Ángel Gómez Marchante (ESP) Paternina + 13'08"
9 Luis Pérez (ESP) Cofidis + 13'24"
10 David Blanco (ESP) Comunidad Valenciana + 15'15"
Lanterne Rouge
119 Matthew White (Aus) Cofidis + 4h16'42"
Points
1 Erik Zabel (Ger) T-Mobile
Mountains
1 Félix Cárdenas (Col) Cafés Baqué
Combination
1 Roberto Heras (Esp) Liberty Seguros
Team
1 Comunidad Valenciana

Note: Officially, Zabriskie and Hamilton are the only riders to have results from the 2004 Vuelta stripped from their palmarès. Shortly after the Vuelta finished the UCI performed an OOC test on Phonak's Santiago Pérez - the revelation of the race, with three stage wins and an unexpected second place overall - and busted him for blood doping. Other riders who were subsequently given time on the naughty step for doping include Floyd Landis (who led the race after stage one and between stages eight and 11), Manuel Beltrán (who led the race between stages five and seven), Alessandro Petacchi (winner of stages two, four, seven and 13), Alejandro Valverde (winner of stage three), Denis Menchov (winner of stage five), Leonardo Piepoli (winner of stage nine), Eladio Jiménez (winner of stage 10), and - of course - Heras himself.)

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Having already reviewed Viva la Vuelta! a few years ago, I'm not going to repeat here what I said there, save to say that Lucy Fallon and Adrian Bell serve up a history of a race which is often overlooked, and served up that history by trying to set it in the context of Spain's political history, which is essential to know if you want to understand the history of the Vuelta. This new edition makes some amendments to the original text and brings the history of the race up to 2013, helping to show how the Vuelta is today trying to carve out a new identity for itself and exit the shadow of the other two Grand Tours. If you want to understand the history of the race, where it came from and where its seems to be going, this new, updated edition of Viva la Vuelta! should be on your cycling bookshelf.

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See also Vuelta Fables: The Basque Issue, the review of the original 2005 edition of the Viva la Vuelta! and an interview the authors, Lucy Fallon and Adrian Bell.