La Vuelta A España 2018 Favourites!

Everything you need to know about La Vuelta!



This year’s line up for La Vuelta boasts an incredibly strong field. Granted, for the first time in recent memory there is no Froome or the retired Contador to light up the fearsome climbs and the General Classification, but nearly all the big names of pro cycling will be present.

Over the last few years La Vuelta has been the toughest Grand Tour due to its incredibly steep and long climbs, the blistering heat of the south and a parcours that gives hardly any stages to the sprinters. This year appears on paper as slightly different with certainly an easier first week in Andalucía, but with a tough stage 4 with two cat 1 climbs near Granada, the GC contenders will have to ride well.

Then we go back to a more traditional Vuelta route with the mountains coming thick and fast in week 2, and week 3 sees it start with the famous HC climb of Lagos de Covadonga and two stage finishes in the high Pyrenees. La Vuelta battle will not be decided until the penultimate Queen stage on the slopes of the col de Gallina of Andorra.

With the unusually hilly World Road Race championships in Innsbruck shortly afterwards, some riders will be on the start line in Málaga aiming to improve their climbing legs.
Hence predicting the winner from such a strong and multi-talented field, including 4 previous Vuelta winners, is a difficult task. However, below is our view on who will shine the brightest in the sunshine of Spain.

GC Favourites
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) – The shark of Messina has been granted the race No1 for this year’s Vuelta. One of the greatest Grand Tour riders of the modern era, Nibali won the Vuelta in 2010 and placed 2nd last year. Could he back to his best after a fantastic start to the year by winning the Milan San Remo, only to withdraw after crashing in the TdF? Or has he not had enough time to recover? If fully fit, the other GC contenders will know they will face the toughest competitor.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) – A crowd pleaser who all fans like, Quintana has proved over the years to be a contender at the Grand Tours, having won the Giro (2014) and La Vuelta (2016) once each. With this success, his last 2 seasons have been classed as somewhat of a failure, with Movistar not being able to match Team Sky when it mattered. With Mikel Landa ruled out with injury, Quintana will lead the attack with his super domestique Valverde. The parcours is well suited for Quintana to bring home the victory this year.

Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) – After his golden year of 2015 when Aru won La Vuelta and finished runner up in the Giro, many thought he would be the natural contender to Froome. Although he rode a great TdF in 2017 before coming down with bronchitis, this year has especially been a disaster for him. La Vuelta remains his season’s big goal, and with his super domestique of Dan Martin, he could mount a great challenge.

Richie Porte (BMC Racing) – After winning the Tour de Suisse at the beginning of the year, the Australian was looking good going into the TdF. However, after crashing out again (and the year before), Porte will have his sights set on recovering his season. A great climber, who previously worked tirelessly for Wiggins and Froome in their TdF victories, can Porte win his first Grand Tour?

Other Notables
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) – Another previous winner, Valverde seems to be able to roll back the years and perform at the highest level. The local hero.

Simon and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) – the British twin brothers are flying at the moment on the pro-circuit. Simon nearly won the Giro this year and Adam will be here to ride as a super domestique for his brother, and looking for a stage win.

Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha – Alpecin) – The Russian, who is certainly making a name for himself, is a real contender. After a top ten finish in the TdF this year, can he better his 3rd place finish from last year’s Vuelta?

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) – a great talent, Pinot has had a torrid year after recovering from pneumonia after the Giro and then missing the TdF. La Vuelta offers him a good chance to show his class, being fresher than usual at this stage of the season.

Miguel Ángel López (Astana) – Nicknamed “Superman”, this Colombian climber likes to show his strength on the hardest climbs. A 3rd place at this year’s Giro shows he has the ability to win La Vuelta.

Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) – His crash into the snow banks of 2016 at the Giro stopped him probably winning a Grand Tour. A very impressive 5th this year at the TdF shows he is a man in form.
Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First Drapac) – A very quiet season after his crash at Roubaix caused him to abandon the TdF. So be assured the Colombian will be fired up to do something special at this year`s Vuelta after his amazing 2nd place finish at last year’s TdF.
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) – “Peter the Great” will not win La Vuelta but is no doubt here for a few stage wins and to hone his legs for the Worlds. One of cycling’s best talents, the three time world champion always causes a story wherever he rides.

And some more due to being such a strong field! Bauke Mollema (Trek Sagfredo), Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), Michael Woods (EF Education First Drapac), Elia Viviani- sprints (Quick-Step), Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky), Rohan Dennis - ITT (BMC), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)


Who will be standing on the podium in Madrid indeed!










Comments

  1. I'll be following this for sure; my sentimental favourite is Quintana. I take it no Geraint Thomas or Tom Dumoulin in La Vuelta.

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  2. Sorry! Got so caught up in being in the midst of La Vuelta, didn´t get a chance to see your note. Yes, we like Quintana very much too as does the Spanish crowd. He always gets a great cheer when he arrives.

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