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History of Franco's Spain 1936-1975

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During this era Spain was under the leadership of Dictator Fransisco Franco. Although he managed to isolate Spain from the rest of the world, the Spanish sportsmen were still interested in participating in international sporting events notably cycling. Despite the insufficient funding from the government, they continued to solicit sponsorship funds from the private sector. However, they faced a lot of opposition from the fascist regime who opposed capitalist support of the sport. But with their strong determination they were able to push on with this sporting event, as indicated by the many professional cycling events that were staged and participated by the Spanish team. This paper will seek to analyze some of the cycling events that were staged during the years 1936-1975.

In 1936 the first edition of Vuelta cycling competition was held though with the nationalistic flavor. This was a clear indication that the Franco regime was keenly interested on the nationalists as opposed to the republicans. In 1941 the second edition of Vuelta competition was held. And the cyclists were supposed to cover a distance of 4442 km. The series was consecutive staged in the years 1942 and 1945, although it only involved the Spanish nationals. Although foreign participation resumed in 1946, the Spanish cycling team remained limited due to the economic and diplomatic barriers imposed after the Second World War.

The economic depression in Spain caused the abandonment of the event between 1950 and 1955. This continued until 1960s after an end of autarky regime, during this period there was an economic boom which consequently translated to the apparent rise of Spanish cycling competition. The opening up of Spain in the late 1960s also boosted the international participation of Spanish sport people and hence had an overall positive impact on sports. Other sports like football and basketball also started gaining popularity and have since then attained an international mark.

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