La Vuelta a España 2023

La Vuelta a España 2023

August 2023

Held in Spain, La Vuelta is the final of the three Grand Tours. The 78th edition of the Spanish tour kicks off on 26 August in Barcelona, with a 14.6 km team time trial. The 3153.8 kilometres are spread across 21 stages, only broken up by two rest days. In typical Vuelta fashion, half of all stages will end in summit finishes. The Spanish tour is living up to its reputation, as it favours talented climbers who thrive on both long and short steep inclines. According to the organisers, only four stages are classified as flat stages. This includes a 25.8 km individual time trial.  

Photo credits: 

BORA – hansgrohe / Sprintcycling  
BORA – hansgrohe / Matthis Waetzel 
BORA – hansgrohe 

Faster, higher, steeper 

After the start in Barcelona, a high-altitude finale is planned in Andorra. Following the individual time trial at stage 10 is a mix of hilly stages and mountain top finishes – it seems sprinters only have stage 7 to look forward to. The second half of the race will be equally mystical as it will be brutal. Stage 13 will end on the 2115 m high Col du Tourmalet, which is both one of the most famous climbs of the Tour de France and the highest point of the Vuelta this year. Then there will be four high-altitude finales within five days, stage 17 ending on 13 September on the legendary Altu de L’Angliru. This former cattle trail tarmacked specially for the Vuelta in 1999 awaits the peloton in the second half of the 13.2 km with an average incline of 13% and a maximum of 23.5% (!). But even after all that, the Vuelta still won’t be decided. On the penultimate day, the organisers will be leading the pro cyclists over a circuit with over 4000 altitude difference divided among ten climbs of three categories. Only then will we have our winner, who will get to celebrate his victory on 17 September in Madrid after a flat circuit parade leading up to the sprint showdown. 

A Spanish success story 

The history of the Vuelta began 77 years ago and is dominated by a passion for cycling and Spanish culture. Inspired by the great successes of the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, Juan Pujol, owner of a Spanish newspaper, inaugurated the Vuelta in 1935. That year, 50 cyclists took on the 3,425 km route in just 14 days for the first time. Ten stages were in excess of 250 km, which seemed almost impossible if you look at historical bikes from the time. Save from a few interruptions, the Vuelta has been held annually since 1955. To establish itself alongside the other two major tours and make the race varied and interesting, new ideas have been repeatedly tried out. The aim was to live up to the reputation of a ‘Grand Tour’. 

In 1995, the international cycling association UCI changed the cycling calendar and moved the Spanish Tour from April to August. 

Unlike at the Tour de France, the special jerseys have changed colour from time to time. Currently, the overall leader wears the red ‘Maillot Rojo’, the leader of the points classification the green ‘Maillot Verde’ and the best climber the blue polka dot ‘Maillot Lunares’, and the best young rider in the general classification (born 1997 or later) in white. 

The BORA – hansgrohe line-up 

30 professional cyclists from 15 different countries in one team. After all, teamwork makes the dream work in cycling. Even though only one rider can be the first over the finish line, winning is a success for the whole team, because you can’t win in cycling without domestiques who provide slipstreams, grab water bottles, keep the competition at bay and lead out the sprinters in the sprint.  

This year, 22 teams with 8 riders each will start at the Vuelta. There are sprinting specialists, strong climbers and great all-rounders. We’ll be seeing Aleksandr Vlasov at the starting line for the general classification. Our line-up also features other strong riders, such as Nico Denz, Lennard Kämna and Sergio Higuita, who have already proven that they can snatch stage wins at the highest level. Additionally, Cian Uijtdebroeks will be joining us in his debut Grand Tour as well as Emanuel Buchmann, Ben Zwiehoff and Jonas Koch to provide vital support on a wide variety of terrains. 

Emanuel Buchmann 

Emanuel Buchmann turned pro at BORA – hansgrohe. He usually doesn’t say much; he prefers to let his actions do the talking and show just what he’s capable of on the bike. In the 2019 Tour de France, he was only a few seconds off making the podium in Paris thanks to his tremendous consistency over 21 stages. In 2023, he’ll be at the Vuelta starting line for the third time following 2017 and 2018 and will mainly be needed to support Aleksandr Vlasov on hill climbs. 


Nico Denz 

The 29-year-old German joined the BORA – hansgrohe team in 2023. What belongs together, came together. This father of two is a down-to-earth guy, a loyal helper who makes sacrifices for his teammates in almost every terrain and, above all, he’s always up for a laugh. He showed us his fighting spirit in the Giro in 2023, giving it everything he had in breakaway groups and, both surprisingly and impressively, winning two stages within three days. To switch off, he absolutely loves cooking surrounded by his family or relaxing in his sauna after a training session (his children come along to the occasional session in their bike trailer). 


Sergio Higuita 

The 2019 Tour of Spain was Sergio’s first Grand Tour. Despite this, he immediately claimed a stage win during a very difficult last week. This is therefore another very important Tour for the ‘monster’ from Medellín. Despite his stature, he very much deserves this nickname, which purely relates to his abilities on a bike. Sergio greatly appreciates BORA – hansgrohe’s structured way of working. If he needs to focus before a race or switch off afterwards, he listens to music – in which he has a very diverse taste. The family-oriented Colombian has a friendly demeanour and always wears a smile on his face. After previously competing in 2019 and 2022, this will be his third Vuelta. 


Lennard Kämna  

The 26-year-old from the far north of Germany started to make a name for himself early in his career. His skills as a time trial rider battling against the clock stood out in particular, making him junior time trial world champion and under-23s European time trial champion. At just 20 years old, he won the world team time trial championships alongside cycling stars Tom Dumoulin and Michael Matthews, to name a couple. This was followed by stage victories in the Tour de France 2020 and Giro 2022 among other top results. Pancake-fiend Lennard likes to go all in for mountain stages, and his racing style is bold and offensive. This has given every one of his eight wins to date a very special touch. 


Jonas Koch 

Jonas used to watch the Tour de France with his grandma when he was little. Then 2020 was the year his dream came true – he competed in La Grande Boucle. The 30-year-old rider from Baden-Württemberg is now a seasoned pro. His skills are impressive, especially as a reliable domestique and when it comes to the Spring Classics. In winter he swaps training on his bike for cross-country skiing. Just a post-workout sauna and some stretches, and it’s a perfect day! Jonas is set to be a valuable domestique beyond the mountain stages at the Vuelta as the captains will need every little support to conserve energy. 


Cian Uijtdebroeks 

The Belgian started racing professionally at just 18 years old and has demonstrated his talent since then. He promptly won the Tour de l’Avenir in his first professional year of 2022, which is a Tour de France for under-23s. In 2023, he continued his climb towards the top by finishing three WorldTours among the top 10. His Grand Tour debut is the logical next step. In his private life, he’s a family man, helping out on the home farmstead, and likes to play guitar. What’s odd about Cian as a professional cyclist is that he doesn’t drink coffee.  


Aleksandr Vlasov 

Aleks, who already tried his hand at judo and football before becoming a cyclist, joined the Band of Brothers in 2022, immediately showing what he’s capable of in the first half of the season. As well as securing stage wins and claiming overall victory at both the Tour de Romandie and the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, he also performed very well at the Ardennes classics, followed by a powerful fifth place at the Tour de France 2022. He had to retire from the Giro 2023 at the 10th stage for health reasons. Since then, he’s been preparing for the Vuelta. This 27-year-old likes to chill out by walking his dog or cooking, and he particularly loves the passion and exuberant emotions of cycling.  


Ben Zwiehoff 

Ben went pro in 2021 and is one of several BORA – hansgrohe team members to have changed their careers to road cycling. Hailing from the Ruhr, the law student had realised that he could probably achieve more on the road than on his mountain bike. The team management was impressed by his phenomenal performance data, which Ben went on to reinforce with his spectacular results at his first challenging road stage race, demonstrating his climbing skills and proving to be a very valuable domestique. He was also able to prove this at the Giro 2022, as a key component of the team surrounding winner Jai Hindley.  


Watch our video to find out how our boys have prepped themselves for the Vuelta with food: