August will mark the start of one of the three main cycling events worldwide: La Vuelta a España. This year, it will kick off at Burgos Cathedral on 14 August and end at Santiago de Compostela’s Cathedral on 5 September — a diversion from the usual Paseo de Madrid.
For us, at Windy.app, this is a great opportunity to discuss the impact of the weather on cycling. In this post, we will also share with you how to use the weather to your advantage in your cycling sessions and some extra tips so nothing can stop you from pedaling.
You will also be able to see the weather forecasts for the 2021 Vuelta a España and the challenges that the weather brings for the participants.
All weather conditions affect the athlete’s performance — cycling included. In addition to having a direct influence on the physical conditions of the athlete, it also affects the terrain’s conditions, and thus, their performance.
The Vuelta a España 2020 (as well as the Giro d’Italia in May) set a milestone in the history of this famous competition, as it took place in October instead of summer, as usual, for reasons associated with the pandemic. This change took a toll on the cyclists’ performance due to the various weather phenomena that take place in autumn.
Therefore, it becomes apparent that the weather and weather conditions have a direct effect on the performance of the race. For example:
- Side winds can create a fanning effect, cutting up the peloton and causing riders to lose valuable time.
- Rains may cause “big” crashes where those involved can end up injured or even end up leaving the race. Other precipitation and meteorological phenomena such as snow and fog can also sometimes cause the partial or total suspension of a stage.
- High temperatures may cause heat dehydration, while low temperatures call for heavier clothing that slows you down.
All these factors affect the riders, who have but their legs to rely on, along with great determination and a strong psyche, to win the day’s stage and arrive at the end of the race in the best possible position.
This was the short version of this article. We will now discuss each of these weather factors in more detail. Besides, there are others.
Read next the article “The best and worst weather for cycling. Examples from 2021 Vuelta a España” in the Windy.app Blog — leading professional weather forecast application for iOS and Android. The article is also available in the original Spanish language.
Text: Diana Marcela Zuluaga. Editor and contributor: Ivan Kuznetsov
Cover photo: Quino Al / Unsplash