Spanish rider José Luis Arrieta (AG2r Prévoyance) will start the Vuelta a España, where he won Stage 19 last year, on September 1 with number one on his jersey, according to Dutch paper De Telegraaf. Normally the reigning champion would receive the honour of wearing number one as the previous year's winner, but as Kazakh Alexandre Vinokourov will not be taking part this year - due to his non-negative test for blood doping following the Tour de France's Stage 13 time trial - Vuelta organiser Unipublic has decided to assign the start numbers in alphabetical order of team name.
As a result of Unipublic's decision French squad AG2r Prévoyance team will be wearing the numbers one through nine.
For the third time this season, a Grand Tour organisation has had to assign the top number to a rider to someone other than the winner of the previous edition of their respective races. From 2006's Grand Tour winners, namely Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso, Tour de France winner Floyd Landis and Vuelta a España victor Alexandre Vinokourov, none have started the Grand Tour they won last year following their respective involvements in doping investigations or having registered non-negative results.
Italian Paolo Bettini (Quick.Step - Innergetic) was given the honour of wearing number one at this year's Giro, as the reigning world and Olympic champion, while the Tour organisers decided not to assign the start number one to any rider, instead choosing to begin the numbering with 11. Oscar Pereiro (Caisse d'Epargne), who rolled across the line second in Paris last year and is still waiting to hear the result of Landis' arbitration hearing, wore the number 11 jersey at this year's race.
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