10 Things you might not know about..... Kas
1. Formed in 1958 Kas were one of the strongest Spanish professional cycling teamsduring the 1960s through to 1979. Kas returned for 3 seasons during the 1980s.
2. Kas is the name of a Spanish soft drinks manufacturer and the teams prime sponsor. The team wore a yellow jersey with Kas emblazoned across the front in blue.
3. In 1959, one year after its formation, Kas signed the 1958 Spanish champion, Federico Bahamontes. Bahamontes had recently won two King of the Mountains classifications in both the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España. Bahamontes followed this up with GC Tour win that same year.
4. Bahamontes left the team in 1960, but Kas won the King of the Mountains title in the 1960, 1961 and 1962 Vuelta a España with Antonio Karmay Mestre.
5. Kas-Kaskol dominated the 1966 Vuelta with Francisco Gabica winning, Eusebio Velez Mendizabal coming second and Carlos Echeverría claiming third. The team also underlined their pre-eminence in the King of the Mountains competition with Gregorio San Miguel; Kas-Kaskol won six stages and held the yellow jersey for 14 of the 18 stages.
6. Kas won the team prize in the Vuelta in 1967 and again in 1968.
7. In the early 1970s José Manuel Fuente became the centre point of the Kas team. Signed in 1971 as the best new-comer in the 1970 Vuelta, Fuente won the mountains race in the 1971 Giro d'Italia and followed that up by winning the 1972 Vuelta outright. Fuente repeated his success in 1974, becoming only the third rider to win the race twice.
8. During the mid to late 70s Kas continued to chalk up victories in the Grand Tours. Jose Pesarrodona won the Vuelta in 1976 with Andrés Oliva won the King of the Mountains title. Despite Kas winning the team prize in the '78 and '79 Vuelta, the sponsor decided to leave the pro tour at the end of that year.
9. 6 years later, Kas returned as a co-sponsor of the Skil-Sem team run by French Directeur Sportif Jean de Gribaldy. In 1986 Kas became the prime sponsor and the famous yellow and blue jersey returned. This coincided with both a Sean Kelly produced third place place and winning the overall points jersey for the third time in the Vuelta a España.
10. However, the 80s comeback of Kas was troubled by a combination of events. In January 1987 Directeur Sportif de Gribaldy died in a car crash. Then during the Vuelta a España later that year, Kelly, leading with just three days to go withdrew due to injury. Although he subsequently won the event in 1988, this was to be Kas' final win in the Vuelta. The team owner passed away in 1988 and Kas were disbanded thereafter.
Words - bikebritan Ltd
Sources - www.bikeraceinfo.com, www.vuelta.cyclingfever.coma and www.bluesuitpacers.org
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