Vuelta organiser Unipublic was faced with a difficult decision before the start of this year's event. Last year's champion Alexander Vinokourov and third placed Andrey Kashechkin both went positive for banned blood transfusions leading to their exclusion from the race, and second placed finisher Alejandro Valverde chose not to start - so who would get to wear number one in Vigo on September 1? Rather than dip down to fourth place to hand the number over to CSC's Carlos Sastre, organisers decided to sort the teams and riders in alphabetical order to determine the bib numbers. This leaves Ag2r's José Luis Arrieta at the top of the start list.
The 36 year-old Spaniard was given the honour because he "Represents those that have worked and worked in the Tours, and cycling in general, in an anonymous way in support of their team leaders - without them cycling would not occupy the place of privilege that it occupies with the fans of the sport." Arrieta won stage 19 of last year's Vuelta, and has just re-signed with the Ag2r team for next season.
Next week, once the Vuelta a Burgos and Deutschland Tours are finished, the teams will submit their definitive lists of riders who will participate in the Vuelta, which runs from September 1-23.
Numbers 1 - 9: Ag2r Prevoyance
Numbers 11 - 19: Andalucia - Cajasur
Numbers 21 - 29: Bouygues Telecom
Numbers 31 - 39: Caisse d'Epargne
Numbers 41 - 49: Cofidis, le Credit Par Telephone
Numbers 51 - 59: Credit Agricole
Numbers 61 - 69: Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
Numbers 71 - 79: Euskaltel - Euskadi
Numbers 81 - 89: Française Des Jeux
Numbers 91 - 99: Gerolsteiner
Numbers 101 - 109: Karpin Galicia
Numbers 111 - 119: Lampre-Fondital
Numbers 121 - 129: Liquigas
Numbers 131 - 139: Predictor-Lotto
Numbers 141 - 149: Quick Step - Innergetic
Numbers 151 - 159: Rabobank
Numbers 161 - 169: Relax - Gam
Numbers 171 - 179: Saunier Duval - Prodir
Numbers 181 - 189: Team CSC
Numbers 191 - 199: Team Milram
Numbers 201 - 209: T-Mobile Team