Vuelta a España Statistics – A Unique Stats You Should See (2021)

Team Jumbo-Visma at Vuelta a España 2020 - Primož Roglič Winner of the General Classification

Vuelta an España is the youngest cycling Grand Tour. But it doesn’t mean we can’t find some interesting data about its history.

I put together all Vuelta’s editions and visualized them in charts to see how this race developed.

The result is unique Vuelta a España statistics and facts you have probably never heard about. They can give us valuable insights and satisfy our curiosity.

Let’s dive into the “best of” stats about the Spanish Grand Tour.

Abbreviations used: GC – General Classification, GT – Grand Tour, BMI – Body Mass Index

I used publicly available data from wikipedia.org, procyclingstats.com, and the official Vuelta a España lavuelta.es as data sources. Some data is not available (especially the rider’s weights/heights).

Please, also keep in mind the following

  • The Vuelta a España did not take place in the following years 1937-1940, 1943-1944, 1949, 1951-1954
  • The actual rider’s racing weight could vary.

Vuelta a España (Over Time)

Vuelta a España is the youngest Grand Tour. The first edition took place in 1935.

The 2nd and the 3rd edition were relatively long (4,407 and 4,406 km). These were the only 2 editions exceeding the 4,000 km mark.

The average Vuelta a España was 3,060 km between 1960-1980, 3,543 km between 1980-2000, and 3,195 km between 2000-2020.

It is no surprise that the overall average speed increased thanks to technological progress, better training methods, better diet, etc. The overall average speed was 36.81 km/h between 1959-1979 and 39.88 km/h between 1999-2019.

Vuelta a España Overall Distance and Average Speed
Overall Distance and Average Speed

The number of stages varied in the first years (not as much as with other Grand Tours). For the last few years, it remains the same (21), except for 2020, when the Vuelta was shortened to 18 stages.

The chart below also shows the average Vuelta a España stage length. It went down from 176 km between 1949-1979 and 160 km between 1989-2019. This is the shortest stage average from all Grand Tours.

Vuelta a España Average Stage Distance vs. Number of Stages
Average Stage Distance vs. Number of Stages


Vuelta a España (Historical Extremes)

Can you guess the longest and shortest Vuelta a España edition?

The longest Vuelta a España took place in 1936. Riders had to cover 4,407 km.

The shortest Vuelta a España was 1963 Vuelta; it was 2,442 km long.

The longest Vuelta a España stage ever was the 6th stage of the 1935 edition. It was 310 km long.

The shortest Vuelta a España stage ever was the individual time trial of the 1971 Vuelta, stage 11b. It was only 2.65 km long.

The fastest Vuelta a España ever took place in 2003. The average speed of the winner was 42.53 km/h.

The slowest Vuelta a España ever took place in 1948. The average speed of the winner was 25.72 km/h.


Interested in more statistics? I summarized Tour and Giro as well!


Vuelta a España Rider’s Height, Weight, and BMI (Over Time)

In this section, you learn how does the Vuelta a España rider’s height, weight, and BMI develop over time and how do these data differ between riders for the general classification, climbers, and sprinters (all-rounders).

NOTE: The heights and weight data are unfortunately not available for all riders.

General Classification

The average height of a Vuelta a España winner is 1.76 m.

The tallest Vuelta a España winner ever was Chris Froome (Vuelta 2011, 2017). He is 1.86 m tall.

The shortest Vuelta a España winner ever was Julián Berrendero (Vuelta 1941, 1942). He was 1.62 m tall.

Vuelta General Classification Winner Height
General Classification Winner Height

The average weight of a Vuelta a España winner is 66.1 kg.

The heaviest Vuelta a España winner was Gustaaf Deloor. He won the 1935 and 1936 Vuelta, weighing 79 kg.

The lightest Vuelta a España winner was Simon Yates. He won the 2018 Vuelta, weighing just 58 kg.

Vuelta General Classification Winner Weight
General Classification Winner Weight

I find the BMI chart the most interesting. Let’s quickly repeat what BMI means.

BMI uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy.(Source)

Here is a quick guide on how to interpret these values:

  • Below 18.5 – underweight,
  • 18.5-24.9 – normal,
  • 25.0-29.9 – overweight,
  • 30.0 and above – obese.

With this know how, we get better understanding of the following values.

Vuelta a España winners have an average BMI of 21.21.

The Vuelta a España winner with the highest BMI was Gustaaf Deloor. He won the 1935 and 1936 Vuelta with a BMI of 24.66 (* m, * kg).

The Vuelta a España winner with the lowest BMI was Fabio Aru. He won the 2015 Vuelta with a BMI of 18.81 (* m, * kg).

Vuelta General Classification Winner BMI
General Classification Winner BMI

Do you want to know how do you compare with pro riders? Feel free to calculate your BMI using the calculator below.

BMI CALCULATOR

System:

Weight: kg

Height: cm




Mountain Classification

The average height of a Vuelta a España mountains classification winner is 1.75 m.

The tallest Vuelta a España mountains classification winner ever is Luis León Sánchez (Vuelta 2014). He is 1.86 m tall.

The shortest Vuelta a España mountains classification winner ever was Mariano Diáz (Vuelta 1967). He was 1.59 m tall.

Vuelta Mountain Classification Winner Height
Mountain Classification Winner Height

The average weight of a Vuelta a España mountains classification winner is 66 kg.

The heaviest Vuelta a España mountains classification winner was Luis León Sánchez. He won the 2014 Vuelta mountain classification, weighing 73 kg.

The lightest Vuelta a España mountains classification winner was Guillaume Martin. He won the 2020 Vuelta mountain classification, weighing just 55 kg.

Vuelta Mountain Classification Winner Weight
Mountain Classification Winner Weight

Vuelta a España mountains classification winners have an average BMI of 21.21.

The Vuelta a España mountains classification winner with the highest BMI was Mariano Díaz. He won the 1967 Vuelta mountains classification with a BMI of 24.92 (1.59 m, 63 kg).

The Vuelta a España mountains classification winner with the lowest BMI is Guillaume Martin. He won the 2020 Vuelta mountains classification with a BMI of 18.38 (1.73 m, 55 kg). This means he was underweight.

Vuelta Mountain Classification Winner BMI
Mountain Classification Winner BMI

Points Classification

The average height of a Vuelta a España points classification winner is 1.79 m.

The tallest Vuelta a España points classification winner ever was FabrizioGuidi (Vuelta 1998). He was 1.87 m tall.

The shortest Vuelta a España points classification winner ever was Roberto Heras (Vuelta 2000). He was 1.72 m tall.

Vuelta Points Classification Winner Height
Points Classification Winner Height

The average weight of a Vuelta a España points classification winner is 70 kg.

The heaviest Vuelta a España points classification winner was Rik Van Steenbergen. He won the 1956 points classification, weighing 83 kg.

The lightest Vuelta a España points classification winner was Roberto Heras. He won the 2000 points classification, weighing just 59 kg.

Vuelta Points Classification Winner Weight
Points Classification Winner Weight

A Vuelta a España points classification winner has an average BMI of 21.81.

A Vuelta a España points classification winner with the highest BMI was Rik Van Steenbergen (1.86 m, 83 kg). He won the 1956 Vuelta points classification with a BMI of 23.99.

A Vuelta a España points classification winner with the lowest BMI was Chris Froome (1.86 m, 66 kg). He won the 2017 Vuelta points classification with a BMI of 19.08.

Vuelta Points Classification Winner BMI
Points Classification Winner BMI

TIP: Don’t you have a bike yet? Feel free to browse my selection of the best bikes on the market.


Overall Victories, Stage Wins, Days in Red…

The riders with the most Vuelta a España GC wins (3) are Roberto Heras, Alberto Contador, and Tony Rominger.

Riders with the Most Overall Vuelta a España Victories
Riders with the Most Overall Vuelta a España Victories

The title for the most days (48) spent in the red jersey (Maillot Rojo) belongs to Alex Zülle.

Riders with the Most Days in the Red Jersey
Riders with the Most Days in the Red Jersey

The following table shows three riders with the most Vuelta a España stage wins.

#RiderWins
1Delio Rodríguez39
2Alessandro Petacchi20
3Laurent Jalabert
Rik Van Looy
18
4Sean Kelly16
5Gerben Karstens14
The most Vuelta a España stage wins

Riders with the Most Mountain & Points Classification Victories

The best climber, according to the number of Mountain Classification victories, was José Luis Laguía. He won this classification five times.

#RiderVictoriesYears
1José Luis Laguía
David Moncoutié
51981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986
2José María Jiménez42008, 2009, 2010, 2011
1997, 1998, 1999, 2001
3Andrés Oliva
Antonio Karmany
Emilio Rodriguez
Julio Jiménez
31975, 1978, 1976
1960, 1961, 1962
1946, 1947, 1950
1963, 1964, 1965

The best sprinters, according to the number of Points Classification victories, were Sean Kelly, Laurent Jalabert, and Alejandro Valverde. They won this classification four times.

#RiderVictoriesYears
1Sean Kelly
Laurent Jalabert
Alejandro Valverde
41980, 1985, 1986, 1988
1994, 1995, 1996, 1997
2012, 2013, 2015, 2018
2Erik Zabel32002, 2003, 2004
3Rik Van Looy
Jan Janssen
Uwe Raab
Primož Roglič
21959, 1965
1967, 1968
1990, 1991
2019, 2020

If you are into cycling and numbers, make sure you also read these Incredible Bicycle Statistics.


Summary

I enjoyed putting this article together. How do you like it? Let me know in the comments section below or feel free to share it on your social media.

Don’t forget to check my Cycling Grand Tours Statistics, where I compare all Grand Tours or continue reading:


Vuelta a España Statistics FAQ


Sources

wikipedia.org
procyclingstats.com
lavuelta.es

The preview picture ©PHOTOGOMEZSPORT2020 (cropped)

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