At the turn of the millennium, the largest Basque city established itself as one of the cultural capitals of Spain, its transformation symbolised by the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in 1997. What’s more, the history of Basque and even Spanish cycling was forged within the landscape of industrial Bilbao during the period between 1955 to 1978 when the Vuelta was organised by "El Correo Español del Pueblo Vasco". While it’s taken until the Tour’s 110th edition for the city to make its first appearance on the race map, it has also hosted the Tour of Spain on 37 occasions. Regional riders, such as Alex Aranburu for example, may have seen Marc Soler’s Vuelta coup d’état there as a nod to them, as he ended a Spanish drought last summer that extended to almost two years in the Grand Tours in Bilbao. As a consequence, he added his name to a list of prestigious winners in the city, putting him alongside the likes of René Vietto (1942), Fiorenzo Magni (1955), Roger Rivière (1959), Luis Ocaña (1970), Rik Van Steenbergen (1956) and, more recently, Igor Antón (2011) and Philippe Gilbert (2019).

  • Stage town for the 1st time
  • Capital of the province of Biscay in the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country
  • Population: 354,000 (Bilbayens and Bilbayennes), 1,150,000 in the province of Biscay

Basque Country :

  • An autonomous community located in the northern part of Spain state and composed of three provinces: Alava, Biscay and Gipuzkoa
  • Lehendakari (president of the government): Iñigo Urkullu Renteria
  • Surface area: 7,234km2
  • Population: 2,200,000 inhabitants
  • Capital: Vitoria-Gasteiz (235,000 inhabitants)
  • Main cities: Bilbao (354,000 inhabitants), Saint-Sébastien (188,000 inhabitants)

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