The Vuelta a España is the youngest of cycling’s three Grand Tours. There have been over 100 editions of both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, but the 2021 race is only the 76th edition of the Vuelta.
Nonetheless, the race has been graced by historic performances and some of the most adored athletes that cycling has seen. Before the 23 teams and 184 riders take to the startline in Burgos on Saturday, we take a look through the history books to study the previous winners of the Vuelta a España
Who has the most Vuelta a España wins?
Image credit: Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images
- Roberto Heras - 4
- Tony Rominger, Alberto Contador - 3
- Gustaaf Deloor, Julián Berrendero, José Fuente, Bernard Hinault, Pedro Delgado, Alex Zülle, Chris Froome, Primož Roglič - 2
Roberto Heras is the only rider to have won La Vuelta on four separate occasions. He won the race in 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2005. Heras was a specialist at competing on Spanish soil — 21 of his 22 career victories occurred in Spain. Despite his domination of La Vuelta, Heras couldn’t produce the same form at the Tour de France or Giro d’Italia — his best overall result at both races was fifth.
Tony Rominger and Alberto Contador are the two riders to have claimed a hat-trick of overall victories at the Vuelta.
Primož Roglič has won La Vuelta on both of his two starts at the race, and begins the 2021 edition as the favourite to become only the fourth rider to win the Vuelta at least three times.
Oldest Vuelta a España Winners
Chris Horner (Image credit: JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)
- 2013 - Chris Horner, 41 years and 328 days
- 1994 - Tony Rominger, 33 years and 49 days
- 2006 - Alexandre Vinokourov, 33 years and 1 day
- 1979 - Joop Zoetemelk, 32 years and 161 days
- 2017 - Chris Froome, 32 years and 113 days
Chris Horner made cycling history when he won the 2013 edition of the Vuelta a España at the age of 41. Prior to the race, Horner had started 10 Grand Tours. Incredibly, he’d never finished better than 9th overall, which he achieved at the 2010 Tour de France. Horner defeated Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde in 2013 who both finished on the final podium.
The next oldest rider to win the Vuelta is Tony Rominger, who won the last of his three Vueltas in 1994 aged 33 — over 8 years younger than Horner. Alexandre Vinokourov won his only Grand Tour at the 2006 Vuelta a España when he was 33 years old.
Youngest Vuelta a España Winners
- 1961 - Angelino Soler, 21 years and 168 days
- 1935 - Gustaaf Deloor, 21 years and 325 days
- 1960 - Frans De Mulder, 22 years and 153 days
- 1936 - Gustaaf Deloor, 22 years and 336 days
- 1948 - Bernardo Ruiz, 23 years and 175 days
Angelino Soler won the 1961 Vuelta a España at the age of just 21, making him the youngest winner of the race. Belgian Gustaaf Deloor won the first two editions of the race in 1935 and 1936 — the only two occasions he entered the race. He also started the Tour de France in 1937, finishing 16th overall.
The five youngest winners of the Vuelta all claimed their win in the first 16 editions of the race.
Recent Vuelta a España Winners
- 2020 - Primož Roglič, Jumbo-Visma
- 2019 - Primož Roglič, Jumbo-Visma
- 2018 - Simon Yates, Mitchelton Scott
- 2017 - Chris Froome, Team Sky
- 2016 - Nairo Quintana, Movistar
- 2015 - Fabio Aru, Astana
- 2014 - Alberto Contador, Tinkoff-Saxo
- 2013 - Chris Horner, RadioShack-Leopard
- 2012 - Alberto Contador, Saxo Bank-Tinkoff
- 2011 - Chris Froome, Team Sky
- 2010 - Vincenzo Nibali, Liquigas-Doimo
- 2009 - Alejandro Valverde, Caisse d’Epargne
- 2008 - Alberto Contador, Astana
- 2007 - Denis Menchov, Rabobank
- 2006 - Alexander Vinokourov, Astana
- 2005 - Roberto Heras, Liberty Seguros
Cover image: David Ramos/Getty Images