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1985 Vuelta a España

1985 Vuelta a España
Race details
Dates23 April – 12 May
Stages19 + prologue
Distance3,474 km (2,159 mi)
Winning time95h 58' 00"
Winner  Pedro Delgado (ESP) (Orbea)
  Second  Robert Millar (GBR) (Peugeot–Shell–Michelin)
  Third  Francisco Rodríguez (COL) (Zor)

Points  Sean Kelly (IRL) (Skil–Sem–Reydel)
Mountains  José Luis Laguía (ESP) (Reynolds)
Youth  Fabio Parra (COL) (Café de Colombia)
Combination  Robert Millar (GBR) (Peugeot–Shell–Michelin)
Sprints  Ronny Van Holen (BEL) (Safir)
  Team Zor–Gemeaz
← 1984
1986 →

The 40th Edition Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain), a long-distance bicycle stage race and one of the 3 grand tours, was held from 23 April to 12 May 1985.[1][2] It consisted of 19 stages covering a total of 3,474 km. The race was won by Pedro Delgado of the Orbea cycling team.[3][4]

Teams and riders

Pre-race favourites

The Spanish favourites for the general classification of the race were Pedro Delgado, Faustino Rupérez and Pello Ruiz Cabestany and the potential foreign favourites included Robert Millar – now known as Philippa York, Sean Kelly, Éric Caritoux, Peter Winnen and Gianbattista Baronchelli.


List of stages[5][3][6]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner
P 23 April Valladolid – Valladolid 5.6 km (3 mi) Individual time trial  Bert Oosterbosch (NED)
1 24 April ValladolidZamora 177 km (110 mi)  Eddy Planckaert (BEL)
2 25 April ZamoraOrense 262 km (163 mi)  Sean Kelly (IRL)
3 26 April OurenseSantiago de Compostela 197 km (122 mi)  Gianbattista Baronchelli (ITA)
4 27 April Santiago de CompostelaLugo 162 km (101 mi)  Eddy Planckaert (BEL)
5 28 April LugoOviedo 238 km (148 mi)  Federico Echave (ESP)
6 29 April OviedoLakes of Covadonga 145 km (90 mi)  Pedro Delgado (ESP)
7 30 April Cangas de OnísAlto Campoo 190 km (118 mi)  Antonio Agudelo (COL)
8 1 May Aguilar de CampooLogroño 224 km (139 mi)  Ángel Camarillo (ESP)
9 2 May LogroñoBalneario de Panticosa 253 km (157 mi)  Alfons De Wolf (BEL)
10 3 May SabiñánigoTremp 209 km (130 mi)  Sean Kelly (IRL)
11 4 May TrempAndorra 124 km (77 mi)  Francisco Rodríguez (COL)
12 5 May AndorraPal (Andorra) 16 km (10 mi) Individual time trial  Francisco Rodríguez (COL)
13 6 May AndorraSant Quirze del Vallès 193 km (120 mi)  Ángel Sarrapio (ESP)
14 7 May ValenciaBenidorm 201 km (125 mi)  José Recio (ESP)
15 8 May BenidormAlbacete 208 km (129 mi)  Sean Kelly (IRL)
16 9 May AlbaceteAlcalá de Henares 252 km (157 mi)  Isidro Juárez (ESP)
17 10 May Alcalá de Henares – Alcalá de Henares 43 km (27 mi) Individual time trial  Pello Ruiz Cabestany (ESP)
18 11 May Alcalá de HenaresPalazuelos de Eresma (Destilerías DYC) 200 km (124 mi)  José Recio (ESP)
19 12 May Palazuelos de Eresma (Destilerías DYC) – Salamanca 175 km (109 mi)  Vladimir Malakhov (URS)
Total 3,474 km (2,159 mi)

Race Overview

In 1985 the Vuelta a España was still held in its April – May slot as the first of the three grand tours of the season. A young Miguel Induráin took the lead on stage 2. Pedro Delgado won stage 6 to the Lagos de Covadonga and took over the race leader's jersey. Delgado lost the lead the following day to Pello Ruiz Cabestany. Robert Millar – now known as Philippa York then took the lead after the tenth stage, a stage won by Kelly.

Millar held the lead going into what has become one of the most infamous days in the history of the event, the penultimate day of the race, stage 18. Millar started the day 10 seconds ahead of Colombian Francisco 'Pacho' Rodríguez with Spain's Pello Ruiz Cabestany 65 seconds further behind in third. With the following day's last stage of the race little more than ceremonial, Millar said to the press, "I just have to stick to Pacho Rodríguez's wheel and it's done." A mountainous stage with three major climbs, Rodriguez tried but was unable to make a successful attack on Millar on the first climb of the day, the Morcuera. At the foot of the second climb, the Cotos, Millar punctured meaning once the puncture had been fixed Millar had to chase to get back to Rodrigues and Cabestany. By the time the riders reached the third climb, Los Leones, Millar had not only reached the main GC favorites, but was also taking their congratulations indicating their submission that the race over as a contest.[7]

Millar however was unaware that Delgado, in the mountains around his Segovia hometown that he knew like the back of his hand, had launched an attack. None of the riders in Millar's group made him aware of the attack by Delgado – an elite specialist climber like Millar and in this case with the knowledge of the roads allowing him to descend aggressively. Delgado had support in his break from a second rider, José Recio. Delgado had started the day in sixth place and 6 minutes behind Millar. Working with Recio, Delgado was now nearly 7 minutes ahead of Millar on the road. Millar had none of his teammates in this group with the other contenders and was isolated. Recio won the stage and Delgado took overall lead of the race.[8] With the race now referred to as "The stolen Vuelta', from the collusion among the Spanish speaking riders, Millar finished second overall.[9] Peugeot directeur sportif, Roland Berland, said, "It's rotten, the whole peloton was against us. It seems a Spaniard had to win at all costs." L'Équipe's Philip Bouvet stated, Millar was "the victim of a formidable Spanish coalition". Millar said afterwards, "I'll never return to Spain".[10] In the television documentary on York, "The High Life", Millar criticised Berland for his handling of the situation on the road when Delgado attacked. Berland had been unable to negotiate support from other non Spanish speaking teams during the stage to give Millar the required support to chase down Delgado's lead.[11][12][13][14][15]

In 1985 and 1986, a national team of the communist Soviet Union participated in the Vuelta. At the time, it was unusual for Soviet riders to participate in professional races.

1985 also saw the participation of the first U.S. professional team sponsored by Rank-Xerox and managed by Robin Morton, the first woman to manage a men's professional cycling team.

General classification (final)

Rank Rider Team Time
1 Spain Pedro Delgado Orbea 95h 58' 00"
2 United Kingdom Robert Millar Peugeot–Shell–Michelin + 36"
3 Colombia Francisco Rodríguez Zor + 46"
4 Spain Pello Ruiz Cabestany Orbea + 1' 51"
5 Colombia Fabio Parra Café de Colombia + 3' 40"
6 France Éric Caritoux Skil–Sem–Reydel + 6' 08"
7 Germany Raimund Dietzen Teka + 6' 36"
8 Spain Álvaro Pino Zor + 7' 41"
9 Republic of Ireland Sean Kelly Skil–Sem–Reydel + 7' 52"
10 Spain José Luis Navarro Zor + 8' 56"
11 Spain Julián Gorospe Reynolds
12 Spain Celestino Prieto Rodriguez Reynolds
13 Netherlands Gerard Veldscholten Panasonic
14 France Pascal Simon Peugeot–Shell–Michelin
15 France Pierre Bazzo Fagor
16 Spain Juan Tomás Martínez Gutierrez Hueso–Motta
17 Spain Antonio Coll Pontanilla Teka
18 Spain Vicente Belda Kelme–Merckx
19 Spain Faustino Rupérez Rincón Zor
20 Soviet Union Ivan Ivanov Soviet National Team
21 Spain Ignacio Gaston Crespo Reynolds
22 Spain Ángel de las Heras Hueso–Motta
23 Colombia Martín Ramírez Café de Colombia
24 France Dominique Garde Skil–Sem–Reydel
25 France Gilles Mas Skil–Sem–Reydel


  1. ^ "Vuelta a España 1985". Cycling Archives. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Etapas y kilometraje" [Stages and mileage]. El Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 23 April 1985. p. 28. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b "40ème Vuelta a España 1985". Memoire du cyclisme (in French). Archived from the original on 25 October 2004.
  4. ^ "Clasificaciones Oficiales" [Classifications] (PDF). El Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). 13 May 1985. p. 43. Archived (PDF) from the original on 10 September 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2012.
  5. ^ "1985 » 40th Vuelta a Espana". Procyclingstats. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  6. ^ "1985 Vuelta a España". BikeRaceInfo. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  7. ^ "Dirty Deals Done Dirt Cheap". 11 May 2011.
  8. ^ "Stage 18 > Alcala de Henares - DYC". Retrieved 2023-11-30.
  9. ^ "Vuelta a España 1985 | Rapha". Archived from the original on 2012-10-31. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
  10. ^ "Cycling Weekly | See Inside Page 37 | September 15, 2011 | Zinio Digital Magazines & Books". Archived from the original on 2013-02-09. Retrieved 2012-08-19.
  11. ^ "The stolen Vuelta". Archived from the original on 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
  12. ^ "National pride". Pezcycling. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
  13. ^ Rendell, Matt (2002). Kings of the Mountains. Aurum Press. ISBN 1-85410-837-9.
  14. ^ "Robert Millar reclusive star". Retrieved 2008-01-14.
  15. ^ "1985 Vuelta general information". la Retrieved 2008-01-14.
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1985 Vuelta a España
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