August 19, 2011—Los Angeles—Universal Sports will broadcast live, exclusive coverage of every stage of the Vuelta a España—more than 45 total hours—beginning Saturday, August 20 at 11 a.m. ET. On the Wasatch Front, this is on digital channel 5-2.
Coverage of the third and final Grand Tour of the European cycling season continues every day at 10 a.m. ET throughout the three-week race, during which Universal Sports will follow the riders through all 21 stages to the finish in Madrid on September 11. On both rest days—August 30 and September 5—Universal Sports will present special Vuelta Recap Shows at 10 a.m. ET. The network will also present primetime re-airs of each stage nightly at 8 p.m. ET.
The Universal Sports broadcast team will feature Steve Schlanger on play-by-play and Todd Gogulski, former teammate of Lance Armstrong and Greg LeMond, serving as color commentator. The Vuelta will be produced by Universal Sports’ David Michaels, who will be the first U.S. TV supervising producer in recent memory to produce all three Grand Tour cycling events in a single year. Michaels and Gogulski worked on Universal Sports’ coverage of the Giro d’Italia in May, then collaborated on Versus’ broadcast of the Tour de France in July. Coverage on the network will include interviews with team directors and cyclists as well as insight from cycling experts and on-site media.
Gogulski on this year’s race:
“While it has been the outright season goal for some, the 2011 Vuelta a España is a place for redemption for many whose seasons have been hampered by injury, illness or otherwise sub-par results, and it's a great place to gain the final conditioning and confidence leading into the World Championships.”
“This year’s race promises to be a battle between last year's champion, Italian Vincenzo Nibali, compatriot Michele Scarponi, and Spaniard Igor Anton, along with a strong wild-card contingent of several big stars who crashed out of the Tour de France.”
“The most interesting sprint battles will be between Mark Cavendish and American Tyler Farrar, both multi-stage winners last year, against 10 other strong field sprinters shooting for sprint stage wins.”
UniversalSports.com will also provide LIVE streaming coverage of every stage, plus full-length video recaps, highlights, stage profiles, elevation profiles, real-time rider location, blogs, standings, photos and recaps for $14.99. To sign up, fans should visit: http://www.universalsports.com/cycling/la-vuelta/video-live.html. Fans can also access Universal Sports’ new iPad app to get the most up-to-date highlights, news and analysis on-the-go.
This year’s race boasts an all-star field including 2010 Vuelta a España winner Vincenzo Nibali, who posted a third-place finish earlier this year at the Giro d’Italia. Nibali’s quest to repeat will not be easy, as he will face elite competition in Denis Menchov, Michele Scarponi and Bradley Wiggins. Wiggins retuns to the final grand tour stop coming off a tough Tour de France, where he broke his collarbone in a crash.
The sprint stages will feature two of the world’s best sprinters facing off in American Tyler Farrar and Britain’s Mark Cavendish. If Cavendish were to get a stage win in this year’s Vuelta, he would become the first rider since 2003 to have a stage win in all three Grand Tour events in the same season, and only the fourth in history.
Joining Farrar from the U.S. will be Andrew Talansky, Matthew Busche and Taylor Phinney. Phinney, the son of famous cyclist Davis Phinney, is set to make his Grand Tour debut. A former track cyclist, the 20 year-old Phinney will be facing the biggest challenge yet in his transformation to being a road racer.