Vuelta a España race director Javier Guillén responds to Mark Cavendish's comments that the race has become "stupid" with all its mountain-top finishes

The Vuelta a España came to the defence of its race after criticism from Mark Cavendish, who is racing the Tour of Britain, earlier this week.

Cavendish was speaking in a television interview when he labelled the Spanish Grand Tour “stupid” with “11 mountain-top finishes this year.”

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“If we are stupid for that, I have to say to him that we don’t have 11, but nine. Other years we had 11,” Javier Guillén, the director of the Vuelta told Cycling Weekly.

“Honestly, I think he wanted to promote the Tour of Britain, but maybe he did it in the wrong way. I don’t know, I don’t care.

“He may call us stupid, but the audiences don’t believe that because year by year, we have more and more international viewers.”

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Guillén sat down to speak after hearing about Cavendish’s remarks. He said that he was only responding to it because he was asked, otherwise, he would not bother commenting.

He added: “Whoever the rider, especially Cavendish, if he wants to promote a race, he doesn’t need to attack another race to promote it.”

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Cavendish said in the interview: “No-one wants to go to the Vuelta any more unless they crashed out of the Tour de France.” Guillen shook his head in confusion about the comment.

“The riders only come here if they fall down in the Tour de France? It’s curious he says that when the first place rider was here from the Tour de France and he didn’t fall down, the second, the third, the fourth…. Froome, Quintana, Valverde, Nibali, Purito, Majka… All of them finished the Tour de France.”

It was not the first time the Vuelta came under fire. When calendar restructuring comes up, some point fingers at the Vuelta and the Giro and say that they could be shortened to two weeks. It would leave only one Grand Tour, the Tour de France, instead of three.

“It should never go to two weeks. We shouldn’t cut the monuments. I don’t want a short Giro or a short Vuelta,” Guillén continued.

“If we want to open the debate, let’s do it, but we need to see the benefit not to talk about reducing quality. Other sports are trying to grow, not to reduce quality. We have to take care of the races we have.”

Even with Chris Froome and Tejay van Garderen at home after crashing and Vincenzo Nibali disqualified, Guillen is still happy with his race.

He said that fans should have an exciting final four days with Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) leading only by three seconds over Fabio Aru (Astana), and five riders fighting for three podium spots when the race ends on Sunday in Madrid.

  • dodgerking

    Just a couple of months ago the UCI was talking about adding two more world tours, the Tour of CA (moving it back to March) and the Tour Down Under

  • simon peacock

    Vuelta will be around long after Cavendish begins to disappear into obscurity….oooops too late!

  • RobTM

    It’s actually pretty normal to have alternative races on at the same time, races are at different levels and types (eg) mountainous/flat, one day/stage), riders use some as training to peak for key objectives

  • Ian Guy

    Just to add the Vuelta is allowing many new riders to finally emerge – Doumallin, Chaves, George Bennett, even the likes of Lawson Craddock.

  • Ian Guy

    La Vuelta! It is a world tour event, screened arounf the world and has a long history (as does Spanish cycling)

  • Mike B

    So, I’m quite new to viewing the cycling and have really enjoyed the Tour of Britain and was wondering why they put the 2 races on at the same time and who has the better riders?

  • eminusx

    Cav sounds bitter these days, like he knows his days are numbered. He’s had a phenomenal career but everybody gets old in cycling, sprinters quicker than the rest ironically, he needs to bow out with grace and dignity, not like a petulant child.

    Even without Froome, TJ, Nibs and obviously Contador the Vuelta is turning into a classic, a worthy grand tour!

  • Suzanne Hettenvan-Wolf

    Who cares what The Cav with his little Manx Missile says? La Vuelta is SO GREAT this year! Well yeah every year!

  • Carfanatic

    Tour of Britain is pretty lame compared to the stunning backdrops of la Vuelta. Cav is like a spoilt kid when he loses a sprint….

  • Phil Hall

    Vuelta vs Tour of Brit? Viva la Vuelta!