Skip to main content

Vuelta a España Review

Image 1 of 53

The final 2010 Vuelta a Espana podium: Ezequiel Mosquera, Vincenzo Nibali and Peter Velits.

The final 2010 Vuelta a Espana podium: Ezequiel Mosquera, Vincenzo Nibali and Peter Velits. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 2 of 53

Vincenzo Nibali took some time to salute the crowd behind the sprint.

Vincenzo Nibali took some time to salute the crowd behind the sprint. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 3 of 53

Vincenzo Nibali was challenged, but rose to the occasion and held onto the red leader's jersey.

Vincenzo Nibali was challenged, but rose to the occasion and held onto the red leader's jersey. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 4 of 53

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) turned himself inside out to keep pace with Mosquera.

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) turned himself inside out to keep pace with Mosquera. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 5 of 53

Vincenzo Nibali suffers through the time trial en route to reclaiming the Vuelta race lead.

Vincenzo Nibali suffers through the time trial en route to reclaiming the Vuelta race lead. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 6 of 53

Vincenzo Nibali explains how he lost the race lead after stage 16.

Vincenzo Nibali explains how he lost the race lead after stage 16. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 7 of 53

Miguel Indurain presented Nibali with the red jersey.

Miguel Indurain presented Nibali with the red jersey. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 8 of 53

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) rode well to hold on to his red jersey.

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) rode well to hold on to his red jersey. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 9 of 53

Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) speaks with Federico Bahamontes in Toledo after stage 19.

Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) speaks with Federico Bahamontes in Toledo after stage 19. (Image credit: Xacobeo Galicia)
Image 10 of 53

Vuelta leader Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Doimo) and second-placed Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) speak to the press after stage 19.

Vuelta leader Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Doimo) and second-placed Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) speak to the press after stage 19. (Image credit: Xacobeo Galicia)
Image 11 of 53

Ezequiel Mosquera pushes the pace to the line, but fails to distance Nibali.

Ezequiel Mosquera pushes the pace to the line, but fails to distance Nibali. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 12 of 53

Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo-Galicia) on the attack.

Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo-Galicia) on the attack. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 13 of 53

Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo-Galicia) on the steep Pena Cabarga.

Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo-Galicia) on the steep Pena Cabarga. (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 14 of 53

Peter Velits (HTC-Columbia) muscled up the final climb to hold onto third overall in the Vuelta.

Peter Velits (HTC-Columbia) muscled up the final climb to hold onto third overall in the Vuelta. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 15 of 53

Cavendish got some help from HTC-Columbia GC contender Peter Velits to win the stage.

Cavendish got some help from HTC-Columbia GC contender Peter Velits to win the stage. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 16 of 53

Peter Velits (HTC - Columbia) was a surprise winner in the stage 17 time trial and moved up to third on GC.

Peter Velits (HTC - Columbia) was a surprise winner in the stage 17 time trial and moved up to third on GC. (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 17 of 53

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)

Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 18 of 53

Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) surrendered his leader's jersey to Vincenzo Nibali after the stage 17 time trial.

Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) surrendered his leader's jersey to Vincenzo Nibali after the stage 17 time trial. (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 19 of 53

Homage to Catalonia: Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) flies the flag on the podium in Pena Cabarga.

Homage to Catalonia: Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) flies the flag on the podium in Pena Cabarga. (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 20 of 53

Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) takes the stage win

Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) takes the stage win (Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 21 of 53

Vincenzo Nibali earned his red jersey on the final mountain finish.

Vincenzo Nibali earned his red jersey on the final mountain finish. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 22 of 53

Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) with Peter Velits (HTC-Columbia) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) for company.

Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) with Peter Velits (HTC-Columbia) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) for company. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 23 of 53

Race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo)

Race leader Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) (Image credit: AFP)
Image 24 of 53

Combination classification leader Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Doimo) finished in sixth place.

Combination classification leader Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Doimo) finished in sixth place. (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 25 of 53

Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) celebrates a fine victory.

Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) celebrates a fine victory. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 26 of 53

Vuelta leader Igor Anton (Euskaltel - Euskadi)

Vuelta leader Igor Anton (Euskaltel - Euskadi) (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 27 of 53

Nicolas Roche (Ag2R), Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) and race leader Igor Anton (Euskaltel - Euskadi) sprint for 15th place.

Nicolas Roche (Ag2R), Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) and race leader Igor Anton (Euskaltel - Euskadi) sprint for 15th place. (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 28 of 53

Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) powers to victory.

Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) powers to victory. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 29 of 53

Nicolas Roche (AG2R) in agony at the top of the climb.

Nicolas Roche (AG2R) in agony at the top of the climb. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 30 of 53

Nicolas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) continued his strong results in 6th on the stage.

Nicolas Roche (AG2R-La Mondiale) continued his strong results in 6th on the stage. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 31 of 53

Frank Schleck tried to attack but was marked by Mosquera.

Frank Schleck tried to attack but was marked by Mosquera. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 32 of 53

Frank Schleck failed to make up enough time to reclaim a podium spot.

Frank Schleck failed to make up enough time to reclaim a podium spot. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 33 of 53

Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) was trying to gain back already lost time.

Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) was trying to gain back already lost time. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 34 of 53

Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) on the final climb.

Carlos Sastre (Cervelo) on the final climb. (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 35 of 53

The HTC-Columbia team sets out on its winning ride

The HTC-Columbia team sets out on its winning ride (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 36 of 53

Points classification leader Mark Cavendish (HTC - Columbia) crosses the line in 18th place.

Points classification leader Mark Cavendish (HTC - Columbia) crosses the line in 18th place. (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 37 of 53

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) put in a fine sprint in Salamanca.

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) put in a fine sprint in Salamanca. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 38 of 53

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) celebrates his first Vuelta victory

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) celebrates his first Vuelta victory (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 39 of 53

Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre - Farnese Vini) crashed heavily during stage eight, but pushed on to the finish.

Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre - Farnese Vini) crashed heavily during stage eight, but pushed on to the finish. (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 40 of 53

Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ) shouts with delight after topping Cavendish for the stage win.

Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ) shouts with delight after topping Cavendish for the stage win. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 41 of 53

Tyler Farrar (Garmin Transitions) won the final stage in Madrid

Tyler Farrar (Garmin Transitions) won the final stage in Madrid (Image credit: Álvaro Astiz Conde)
Image 42 of 53

Tyler Farrar (Garmin - Transitions) punches the air as he won the Vuelta's fifth stage in a field sprint.

Tyler Farrar (Garmin - Transitions) punches the air as he won the Vuelta's fifth stage in a field sprint. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 43 of 53

Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) speaks to the press before the stage.

Thor Hushovd (Cervelo) speaks to the press before the stage. (Image credit: Chris Eatough)
Image 44 of 53

David Moncoutie (Cofidis) resplendant in the mountains jersey.

David Moncoutie (Cofidis) resplendant in the mountains jersey. (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 45 of 53

David Moncoutie (Cofidis) tackles the Alto Xorret de Catì's steep gradient.

David Moncoutie (Cofidis) tackles the Alto Xorret de Catì's steep gradient. (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 46 of 53

Imanol Erviti (Caisse d'Epargne) wins stage 10 of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana.

Imanol Erviti (Caisse d'Epargne) wins stage 10 of the 2010 Vuelta a Espana. (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)
Image 47 of 53

Eventual stage winner David Lopez (Caisse d’Epargne)

Eventual stage winner David Lopez (Caisse d’Epargne) (Image credit: Sirotti)
Image 48 of 53

Fabian Cancellara awaits the start of stage four.

Fabian Cancellara awaits the start of stage four. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 49 of 53

Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) leads Xavier Tondo (Cervelo TestTeam) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Doimo) up the day's final climb.

Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) leads Xavier Tondo (Cervelo TestTeam) and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas - Doimo) up the day's final climb. (Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 50 of 53

Xavier Tondo Volpini (Cervelo) rides into third place for the stage.

Xavier Tondo Volpini (Cervelo) rides into third place for the stage. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 51 of 53

Stage winner Philippe Gilbert enjoys a bit of swordplay on the podium.

Stage winner Philippe Gilbert enjoys a bit of swordplay on the podium. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)
Image 52 of 53

Race leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma - Lotto) gets a wheel change.

Race leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma - Lotto) gets a wheel change. (Image credit: Unipublic)
Image 53 of 53

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo): winner of the 2010 Vuelta

Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo): winner of the 2010 Vuelta (Image credit: Sirotti)

The battle for the Vuelta a España’s red jersey ultimately came down to a head-to-head battle between two men on the final climb of the race, as Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Doimo) sealed victory over Ezequiel Mosquera (Xacobeo Galicia) with a gritty and intelligent display atop Bola del Mundo on Saturday. But while those last three steep kilometres provided the race’s dramatic denouement, the full story of the Italian’s final 41-second lead was three weeks long and involved a wider supporting cast.

Igor Anton (Euskaltel-Euskadi) and Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha) were worthy wearers of the red jersey, while Peter Velits (HTC-Columbia), Nicolas Roche (AG2R) and Fränk Schleck (Saxo Bank) battled hard to stay with the very best climbers. David Moncoutié (Cofidis) also captured a third consecutive mountains title with an intelligent ride.

Mark Cavendish (HTC-Columbia) found his sprinting legs a week into the race and took home his first points jersey after some fierce battles with fellow stage winners Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions), Thor Hushovd (Cervélo) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre-Farnese Vini). Meanwhile, Saxo Bank duo Andy Schleck and Stuart O’Grady ensured that even the rest day provided emotion at this dramatic Vuelta.

The race began with a spectacular nocturnal team time trial in Seville and the opening days of the race were marked by soaring temperatures in Andalucia. It was a man from northern climes, Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), who coped best with the conditions early on, and he raced into the overall lead with a spectacular stage-winning effort in Malaga. The Belgian would proceed to offer periodic demonstrations of his wonderful form as he fine-tuned his world championships preparation, and he book-ended his Vuelta with another fine win in Toledo.

Igor Anton was the next man to give notice of his form, as he bounded clear at Valdepeñas de Jaén on stage 4, before moving into the red jersey thanks to his efforts behind David Moncoutié on stage 8 to Xorret del Cati. Over the following days, he became locked in an exciting battle for bonus seconds with Joaquin Rodriguez and the Spanish duo each had two separate spells in the overall lead. Meanwhile, Vincenzo Nibali was biding his time but riding with great consistency.

On the penultimate weekend, however, the race’s script was to take a dramatic twist. Fresh from re-taking the overall lead with a dominant stage win at Andorra, Anton crashed on the high-speed run-in to the final climb of Peña Cabarga on stage 14. If ever a moment showed the double-edged nature of sport, it was this. As the stricken Anton lay on the roadside with his red jersey in shreds, the battle for overall victory continued without him. At the precise moment that he was gingerly climbing into his team car nursing a broken elbow, Rodriguez and Nibali were fighting it out on the final climb to the line. Rodriguez danced clear to take the win, while Nibali moved into red. 

The following day at the Lagos de Covandonga, the Italian held his nerve to defend his lead while Ezequiel Mosquera moved decisively into the overall picture with a fine display behind stage winner Carlos Barredo (Quick Step) as the race exploded once again on the final climb. Momentum swung temporarily back into Rodriguez’s favour when he dislodged Nibali on the third consecutive summit finish to Alto de Cotobello but the Catalan’s joy was to be short-lived. Two days later, he lost all hope of overall victory with a disastrous time trial at Peñafiel, where Peter Velits consolidated his 3rd place on the podium.

Nibali retook the red jersey in that time trial, while Mosquera's solid ride ensured that the race would be decided by that thrilling duel atop the Bola del Mundo.

Relive the highs and the lows of the 2010 Vuelta a España with our exclusive picture gallery.