A little over ten years since his death, the Vuelta a España will pay homage to one of Spain's legendary climbers, José María Jiménez, in 2014.
The 2008 Tour de France winner, Carlos Sastre, will give the winner on the Ancares stage - the last mountain-top finish of the race - an award in honour of ‘Chava', who was Sastre's brother-in-law.
"He was an almost unique rider, who loved the Vuelta and the Vuelta loved him," Sastre said during the Vuelta presentation in Cadiz on Saturday, during which video clips were shown of ‘Chava' in action on the Spanish race.
A gifted climber, Jiménez's most memorable Grand Tour performances were almost exclusively in the Vuelta. He took nine stage wins in the mountains including on the Angliru, led the race for four days in 1998 and finished on the podium that year after a memorable fight against Banesto teammate Abraham Olano.
Jiménez also took the King of the Mountains title twice, and - although wildly inconsistent as a rider, which made it impossible for him to fulfill the predictions that he would be a successor to Miguel Indurain and Pedro Delgado - the points competition in 2001.
After retiring and a failed attempt at a comeback, Jiménez died after suffering an embolism while undergoing treatment for health and psychological problems at a clinic in Madrid. He was just 32.
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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