(Update: For the 2006 Vuelta, see “Two American cyclists in 2006 Vuelta a Espana“)
The last of the Grand Tour bicycle races begins Saturday, but don't bother to tune in to the Outdoor Life Network to watch it.
Those good feelings from the run-up to the Tour de France with Cyclysm Sundays and cradle to grave coverage of the Tour itself are gone. There's no more Lance Armstrong racing on his bike, and there's no more cycling on OLN.
There are still ways to watch the Vuelta a Espana, however, although it takes a little ingenuity. Here's some suggestions I've picked up from cycling enthusiasts at the OLN Community message boards and my own surfing. (NOTE: Biking Bis will be posting daily results with links in the Vuelta a Espana folder.)
1. JumpTV — This video streaming service brings the Vuelta right onto the computer screen. JumpTV offers dozens of channels, but the Vuelta is available on TVE International (Spain), which runs $9. 95 a month. You can read about their Vuelta schedule, but you'll have to know Spanish or use Babelfish.
A word of warning, it's now or never with video streaming, unless you have a way to save it. Applian offers WMRecorder and RMRecorder software.
3. Danish TV2 — The network streams the Vuelta live at its Sputnik website. Go to sputnik.dk, click TV then click Sport. Good luck. It's supposed to be $16. (Check this link over at Daily Peloton Forum for more instructions about systems capabilities, etc.)
4. Eurosport — This website offers audio commentary of the race (the last I checked the link was down).
6. Official Vuelta a Espana website — It appears to offer some type of video streaming at its Images button.
This year's 21 stages of the Vuelta — the 60th — covers 2,088 miles of Spanish roadway, beginning in Granada on Saturday and ending in Madrid on Sept. 18.
There are a host of Spanish favorites, with a few Americans thrown in.
Leading the list of top riders would have to be Roberto Heras, if only because he's won three Vueltas (once with US Postal). He now rides with Liberty Seguros. Also on that team is Joseba Beloki, who has recovered from a serious accident in last year's Tour de France.
Other Spanish riders include Francisco Mancebo of Illes Balears (he finished 4th in Tour de France), Manuel Beltran of Discovery Channel, and Oscar Sevilla of T-Mobile.
Among the Americans, Floyd Landis of Phonak (9th in Tour de France) has a shot. Other American bicycle racers include Tom Danielson (winner of Tour de Georgia) of Discovery Channel, Guido Trenti of Quick Step, and Christian Vandevelde of CSC; also Michael Barry of Canada is riding for Discovery.
The three-week grand tour begins with Saturday's 4.5-mile time trial in Granada.