2008 Vuelta a España

2008 Vuelta a España
Overview of the stages
Race details
Dates August 30 – September 21
Stages 21
Distance 3,133.8 km (1,947 mi)
Winning time 80h 40' 23"
Winner  Alberto Contador (ESP) (Astana)
Second  Levi Leipheimer (USA) (Astana)
Third  Carlos Sastre (ESP) (CSC–Saxo Bank)

Points  Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) (Silence–Lotto)
Mountains  David Moncoutié (FRA) (Cofidis)
Combination  Alberto Contador (ESP) (Astana)
Team Caisse d'Epargne

The 2008 Vuelta a España was the 63rd edition of the Vuelta a España, one of cycling's Grand Tours. The race began with a 7 km (4.3 mi) team time trial on August 30 in Granada. The Vuelta came to a close twenty-three days later with a 102.2 km (63.5 mi) flat stage, which brought the peloton into the streets of Madrid. Nineteen teams entered the race, which was won by the Spaniard Alberto Contador of Astana.[1][2] Second and third respectively were the American Levi Leipheimer of Astana and the Spanish Carlos Sastre of CSC–Saxo Bank.[2]

Alberto Contador first gained the race lead after the race's thirteenth stage, which contained a summit finish on the Alto de El Angliru.[3] Contador took the lead from Euskaltel–Euskadi's Egoi Martínez, who had held the race lead for four stages. Through the first nine days of racing the race leader's golden jersey had been worn by eight different riders. The day after Contador gained the lead of the race, he attacked again and won the stage, while also expanding his lead over his competitors. Contador lost about thirty seconds to his teammate Levi Leipheimer in the stage 20 individual time trial, but together he and Levi further distanced themselves from the other general classification contenders.

Contador's win at the Vuelta allowed him to become the first Spaniard - and the fifth person in the history of cycling - to win all three Grand Tours in a career.[1][4][5] At the age of 25, Contador became the youngest person to ever win all three Grand Tours.[1] Contador was also the third cyclist to ever win the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta in the same calendar year.[6][7] In addition to the general classification, Contador also won the combination classification.[2] In the race's other classifications, Silence–Lotto's Greg Van Avermaet won the points classification[2][8] and David Moncoutié of the Cofidis team won the mountains classification.[2][8] Finally, Caisse d'Epargne won the team classification,[2][8] which ranked each of the nineteen teams contesting the race by lowest cumulative time.


A total of 19 teams were invited to participate in the 2008 Vuelta a España. Sixteen of the competing squads were UCI ProTour teams, while the other three teams were UCI Professional Continental taems. Each team sent a squad of nine riders, so the Vuelta began with a peloton of 171 cyclists. Out of the 171 riders that started this edition of the Giro d'Italia, a total of 131[2] riders made it to the finish in Madrid. Team Columbia chose not participate in the race, as they withdrew their application to compete in the Vuelta in order to race the Tours of Ireland, Britain, and Missouri.[9][10] While Scott–American Beef - formerly known as Saunier Duval-Scott - was excluded from the event as a result of the doping cases of Riccardo Riccò and Leonardo Piepoli in the 2008 Tour de France.[11]

The 19 teams invited to the race were:[9]

†: Invited Pro-continental teams

Routes and Stages

This edition of the Vuelta contained three time trial events, two of which were individual and one a team event. Six stages were classified as mountain stages, while two stages were deemed intermediate stages. Ten of the stages were designated as flat stages, which meant that they were primarily flat but could contain a climb or two of a lesser category.

Stage Date Course[12] Distance Type Winner
1 30 August Granada 7.7 km (5 mi) Team time trial Liquigas
2 31 August Granada to Jaén 167.3 km (104 mi) Flat stage  Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
3 1 September Jaén to Córdoba 168.6 km (105 mi) Flat stage  Tom Boonen (BEL)
4 2 September Córdoba to Puertollano 170.3 km (106 mi) Flat stage  Daniele Bennati (ITA)
5 3 September Ciudad Real 42.5 km (26 mi) Individual time trial  Levi Leipheimer (USA)
6 4 September Ciudad Real to Toledo 150.1 km (93 mi) Flat stage  Paolo Bettini (ITA)
5 September Rest day
7 6 September Barbastro to Naturlandia-La Rabassa (Andorra) 223.2 km (139 mi) Mountain stage  Alessandro Ballan (ITA)
8 7 September Escaldes-Engordany (Andorra) to Plá de Beret 151 km (94 mi) Mountain stage  David Moncoutié (FRA)
9 8 September Vielha e Mijaran to Sabiñánigo 200.8 km (125 mi) Intermediate stage  Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)
10 9 September Sabiñánigo to Zaragoza 151.3 km (94 mi) Flat stage  Sébastien Hinault (FRA)
11 10 September Calahorra to Burgos 178 km (111 mi) Flat stage  Óscar Freire (ESP)
12 11 September Burgos to Suances 186.4 km (116 mi) Intermediate stage  Paolo Bettini (ITA)
12 September Rest day
13 13 September San Vicente de la Barquera to Alto de El Angliru 209.5 km (130 mi) Mountain stage  Alberto Contador (ESP)
14 14 September Oviedo to Fuentes de Invierno 158.4 km (98 mi) Mountain stage  Alberto Contador (ESP)
15 15 September Cudillero to Ponferrada 202 km (126 mi) Mountain stage  David García (ESP)
16 16 September Ponferrada to Zamora 186.3 km (116 mi) Flat stage  Tom Boonen (BEL)
17 17 September Zamora to Valladolid 148.2 km (92 mi) Flat stage  Wouter Weylandt (BEL)
18 18 September Valladolid to Las Rozas 167.4 km (104 mi) Flat stage  Imanol Erviti (ESP)
19 19 September Las Rozas to Segovia 145.5 km (90 mi) Mountain stage  David Arroyo (ESP)
20 20 September La Granja de San Ildefonso to Alto de Navacerrada 17.1 km (11 mi) Individual time trial  Levi Leipheimer (USA)
21 21 September San Sebastián de los Reyes to Madrid 102.2 km (64 mi) Flat stage  Matti Breschel (DEN)
Total 3,133.8 km (1,947 mi)

Race overview

For details, see 2008 Vuelta a España, Stage 1 to Stage 11 and 2008 Vuelta a España, Stage 12 to Stage 21.

The 2008 Vuelta a España began with a short team time trial in Granada, a traditional city in the history of the Vuelta, having hosted a stage start or finish 39 previous times.[13] Though Astana and Team CSC Saxo Bank were thought to be favorites to win this stage, the top team was Liquigas, which put their team leader Filippo Pozzato in the first golden jersey.[14] This set the stage for an extremely turbulent first week in terms of race leadership, as Alejandro Valverde, Daniele Bennati, Levi Leipheimer, Sylvain Chavanel, and Alessandro Ballan would all don the maillot oro between the race's beginning and Stage 7. All but Chavanel did this by virtue of stage wins - Chavanel, for his part, had been 2 seconds behind Leipheimer for the race lead after the Vuelta's first individual time trial (ITT),[15] and took it the next day thanks to time bonuses in intermediate sprints.[16]

Alberto Contador wearing the golden jersey during the 20th stage (time trial).

After the first rest day came the Vuelta's longest stage, said to be the queen stage,[16] as it had many high mountain climbs and an extremely difficult climb to the finish in Andorra. As it happened, the day the stage was run was marked by consistent rain and cold temperatures, making the stage harder still. Ballan won this stage from a breakaway and took the overall lead,[17] but he was unable to remain in contention the next day. Leipheimer, who had been in second overall, re-assumed the overall lead.[18] In Stage 9, Leipheimer's Astana team afforded a breakaway including Egoi Martínez sufficient time that Martínez took the overall lead, meaning that through nine stages the race lead had only been retained from one day to the next one time.[19]

The next several stages were flat, and won by sprinters and breakaways, meaning Martínez was able to retain the overall lead for a time. Stage 13, which ended at the storied Alto de El Angliru, revealed the race's overall contenders. Alberto Contador won the stage[3] and in so doing gained a lead over Leipheimer, Carlos Sastre, Ezequiel Mosquera, and Valverde which he would never relinquish. Contador padded this lead by winning the stage the next day,[20] and kept it in the race's second and final ITT, where his strongest challenger was ironically his teammate Leipheimer.[21]

The points classification was won by Belgian Silence–Lotto rider Greg Van Avermaet, who had won Stage 9[19] and finished in the top ten of nine other stages. The King of the Mountains went to Cofidis' David Moncoutié, also a stage winner.[18] The summit stage finish won by Moncoutié as well as points gained by topping climbs at the head of the peloton in the Angliru stage proved to propel Moncoutié into the red jersey. The combination classification, an award unique to the Vuelta among the Grand Tours, was won by Contador, as his first in the General Classification, second in the points classification, and third in the King of the Mountains Classification was by far the strongest combined showing by any rider. With the overall victory, Contador became the first Spaniard and fifth rider ever to complete the career sweep of the Grand Tours.[2]

Classification Leadership

In the 2008 Vuelta a España, four different jerseys were awarded. For the general classification, calculated by adding the finishing times of the stages per cyclist, the leader received a golden jersey. This classification is considered the most important of the Vuelta a España, and the winner of the general classification is considered the winner of the Vuelta.

Additionally, there was also a points classification, which awarded a blue jersey. In the points classification, cyclists received points for finishing in the top 15 in a stage. The winner got 25 points, second place 20, third 16, fourth 14, fifth 12, sixth 10, and one point per place less down the line, to a single point for fifteenth. In addition, some points could be won in intermediate sprints.

There was also a mountains classification, which awarded a red jersey. In the mountains classifications, points were won by reaching the top of a mountain before other cyclists. Each climb was categorized, with most of the climbs being either first, second, third, or fourth category. There were also two "special category" climbs (equivalent to Hors Categorie in the Tour de France), the stage finishes into Andorra and the Alto de El Angliru. "Special category" climbs paid 30 points for the first rider over the summit, then 25, 20, 16, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1. First category climbs paid 16 points for the leader, then 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 3, 2 and 1, second category climbs 10, 7, 5, 3, 2 and 1, and third category climbs 6, 4, 2 and 1.

Finally, there was the combination classification. This was calculated by adding the rankings in the general, points and mountains classifications; the cyclist with the lowest combined ranking was the leader in the combination classification, and received a white jersey.

There was also a classification for teams. In this classification, the times of the best three cyclists per stage were added, and the team with the lowest time was leader.

The rows in the following table correspond to the jerseys awarded after that stage was run.

Classification leadership by stage
Stage Winner General classification
a golden jersey
Points classification
a blue jersey
Mountains classification
a red jersey
Combination classification
a white jersey
Team classification
1 Liquigas Filippo Pozzato not awarded not awarded not awarded Liquigas
2 Alejandro Valverde Alejandro Valverde Alejandro Valverde Jesús Rosendo Egoi Martínez Caisse d'Epargne
3 Tom Boonen Daniele Bennati
4 Daniele Bennati Daniele Bennati Paolo Bettini Quick-Step
5 Levi Leipheimer Levi Leipheimer Egoi Martínez Astana
6 Paolo Bettini Sylvain Chavanel Paolo Bettini
7 Alessandro Ballan Alessandro Ballan Alessandro Ballan Alessandro Ballan
8 David Moncoutié Levi Leipheimer Alejandro Valverde Alberto Contador
9 Greg Van Avermaet Egoi Martínez David Moncoutié Caisse d'Epargne
10 Sébastien Hinault Greg Van Avermaet
11 Óscar Freire
12 Paolo Bettini Astana
13 Alberto Contador Alberto Contador Caisse d'Epargne
14 Alberto Contador Alberto Contador
15 David García
16 Tom Boonen
17 Wouter Weylandt Greg Van Avermaet
18 Imanol Erviti
19 David Arroyo
20 Levi Leipheimer
21 Matti Breschel
Final Alberto Contador Greg Van Avermaet David Moncoutié Alberto Contador Caisse d'Epargne
Jersey wearers when one rider is leading two or more competitions

If a cyclist leads two or more competitions at the end of a stage, he receives all those jerseys. In the next stage, he can only wear one jersey, and he wears the jersey representing leadership in the most important competition (golden first, then blue, then red, then white). The other jerseys that the cyclists owns are worn in the next stage by the second-place (or, if needed, third or fourth-place) rider in that classification.

Final Standings

  A pink jersey   Denotes the winner of the General classification[2][8]   A green jersey   Denotes the winner of the Mountains classification[2][8]
  A red jersey   Denotes the winner of the Points classification[2][8]   A white jersey   Denotes the winner of the Combination classification[2]

General classification

Final general classification (1–10)
Rider Team Time
1  Alberto Contador (ESP)A golden jersey a white jersey Astana 80h 40' 08"
2  Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana + 46"
3  Carlos Sastre (ESP) CSC–Saxo Bank + 4' 12"
4  Ezequiel Mosquera (ESP) Xacobeo–Galicia + 5' 19"
5  Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne + 6' 00"
6  Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne + 6' 50"
7  Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank + 6' 55"
8  David Moncoutié (FRA) a red jersey Cofidis + 10' 10"
9  Egoi Martínez (ESP) Euskaltel–Euskadi + 10' 57"
10  Marzio Bruseghin (ITA) Lampre + 11' 56"

Points classification

Rider Team Points
1  Greg Van Avermaet (BEL) a blue jersey Silence–Lotto 158
2  Alberto Contador (ESP) A golden jersey a white jersey Astana 137
3  Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 129
4  Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 116
5  Koldo Fernández (ESP) Euskaltel–Euskadi 88
6  Matti Breschel (DEN) CSC–Saxo Bank 69
7  Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 69
8  Sébastien Hinault (FRA) Crédit Agricole 68
9  Ezequiel Mosquera (ESP) Xacobeo–Galicia 67
10  David Moncoutié (FRA)a red jersey Cofidis 65

King of the Mountains classification

Rider Team Points
1  David Moncoutié (FRA) a red jersey Cofidis 149
2  Christophe Kern (FRA) Crédit Agricole 106
3  Alberto Contador (ESP) A golden jersey a white jersey Astana 99
4  Juan Manuel Gárate (ESP) Quick-Step 89
5  Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 65
6  Ezequiel Mosquera (ESP) Xacobeo–Galicia 56
7  Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 51
8  Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 48
9  Iñigo Landaluze (ESP) Euskaltel–Euskadi 46
10  Maarten Tjallingii (NED) Silence–Lotto 43

Combination classification

Rider Team Points
1  Alberto Contador (ESP) a white jersey A golden jersey Astana 6
2  Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 11
3  Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 16
4  Ezequiel Mosquera (ESP) Xacobeo–Galicia 19
5  David Moncoutié (FRA) a red jersey Cofidis 19
6  Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 20
7  Carlos Sastre (ESP) CSC–Saxo Bank 26
8  Robert Gesink (NED) Rabobank 41
9  David Arroyo (ESP) Caisse d'Epargne 50
10  Juan Manuel Gárate (ESP) Quick-Step 58

Teams classification

Team Time
1 Caisse d'Epargne 241h 20' 38"
2 Euskaltel–Euskadi + 39' 22"
3 CSC–Saxo Bank + 39' 35"
4 Astana + 42' 01"
5 Xacobeo–Galicia + 51' 31"
6 Lampre + 1h 14' 51"
7 Rabobank + 1h 17' 22"
8 Ag2r–La Mondiale + 1h 27' 42"
9 Crédit Agricole + 1h 28' 56"
10Silence–Lotto + 1h 42' 42"


  1. 1 2 3 "Un triplete para los elegidos" (PDF) (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 22 September 2008. p. 51. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Gregor Brown (2008-09-21). "Breschel tops sprint ahead of historic Contador win". Cycling News. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  3. 1 2 Gregor Brown (2008-09-13). "Contador reigns in Vuelta's most feared day". Cycling News. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  4. "Alberto Contador - ESPN Topics - ESPN". Espn.go.com. 6 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  5. Grand Tour Doubles Alberto Contador (2010-09-24). "Grand Tour Doubles – Alberto Contador | Cycle Sport". Cyclesportmag.com. Retrieved 2012-07-27.
  6. Cycling Hall of Fame Grand Tour Records. Cycling Hall of Fame.com (2002). Retrieved on 26 July 2012.
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  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Breschel, en un accidentado sprint final" (PDF) (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 22 September 2008. p. 52. Retrieved 27 July 2012.
  9. 1 2 "Astana in Vuelta, High Road out". BBC Sport. 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
  10. "High Road confirms Vuelta non-participation". cyclingnews.com. 2008-04-27. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
  11. "Scott-American Beef excluded from Vuelta". cyclingnews.com. 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-08-12.
  12. "Web Oficial de la Vuelta a España 2008 - Official Web Site Vuelta a España 2008". Lavuelta.com. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
  13. "Descripción de la etapa". Web Oficial de la Vuelta a España. 2008-08-30. Archived from the original on July 5, 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  14. "Liquigas surprise over time trialling favourites". Cycling News. 2008-08-30. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  15. Shane Stokes (2008-09-03). "Double success for Leipheimer". Cycling News. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  16. 1 2 Bjorn Haake (2008-09-04). "Bettini is back as Chavanel storms into golden jersey". Cycling News. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  17. Gregor Brown (2008-09-06). "Ballan takes dramatic season first win". Cycling News. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  18. 1 2 Gregor Brown (2008-09-07). "Moncoutié delivers solo punch ahead of Astana show". Cycling News. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  19. 1 2 Shane Stokes (2008-09-08). "Van Avermaet scoops biggest triumph, Martinez grabs lead". Cycling News. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  20. Gregor Brown (2008-09-14). "Contador puts golden stamp on Vuelta". Cycling News. Retrieved 2009-07-29.
  21. Gregor Brown (2008-09-20). "Leipheimer and Contador deliver one-two Astana punch". Cycling News. Retrieved 2009-07-29.

External links

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