Unique Red Jersey for La Vuelta in the Netherlands
In 100 days, La Vuelta, one of the grand tours in cycling, will start in the Netherlands. To kick off the campaign with a lot of side events, a peloton led by Joop Zoetemelk brought a unique red jersey from Breda, via 's-Hertogenbosch to Utrecht.
The red jersey that was officially handed to Mayor Sharon Dijksma by the last Dutch winner of La Vuelta is unique in several respects. Designed by Mattijs van Bergen, it contains the logos of the cities involved (Breda, 's-Hertogenbosch and Utrecht) and provinces (Utrecht and North Brabant). The leader in the general classification of the Vuelta will wear this jersey on Dutch soil. It is the first time in the history of cycling that a leader's jersey is designed and used especially for a host country.
The peloton started its journey in Breda, where the countdown clock of the Vuelta was put into use and the red jersey was handed over. They were then led out by 80 children, who first played a bicycle bell concert, before getting started with the national championships Slowbiking.
On the way, a stop was made in Oosteind, where a group of Mayors was present to welcome the peloton and raise the Vuelta flag - which all passing municipalities will use.
Around noon, the riders arrived in 's-Hertogenbosch, where they were welcomed to the specially composed Bossche Vuelta song. Again a bicycle bell concert sounded before the last leg to Utrecht started. On the way to the finish, a special sign was unveiled on the Amerongse berg, the highest point of the Vuelta stages in the Netherlands.
During the final part of the tour, the peloton was expanded with groups of children, Paralympic athletes and the women's peloton joined. Together they arrived at the Neude in Utrecht, where Joop Zoetemelk, the last Dutch Vuelta winner, handed over the red jersey to Mayor Sharon Dijksma. La Vuelta director Javier Guillen witnessed the day and the unique preview of 'his' event.
Mayor Sharon Dijksma: “Although it will take a while before La Vuelta Holanda starts, the activities have already begun. La Vuelta is alive in Utrecht, North Brabant and throughout the country and it shows. Let's all enjoy the build-up to this iconic event.”
Javier Guillén, General Director of Vuelta a España: “This was a unique preview, in which everything comes together that makes the Netherlands so suitable for an event like La Vuelta. Beautiful cycling environments, cyclists of all ages and enthusiasm with everyone. I can't wait until we can finally get started."
Joop Zoetemelk, the last Dutch Vuelta winner: “It was a beautiful day, with many activities. It was an honour to lead the pack and to be able to hand over this special jersey.”
La Vuelta will start in the Netherlands this year. Not only will there be three stages in August, there is an extensive side events program in the run-up to this spectacular cycling event. All information can be found at www.lavueltaholanda.com.