It’s here – 3 weeks of pro-cycling Grand Tour (GT) finale. Potentially a rematch, but with some climbs at 30% and with a bus load of General Classification (GC) contenders, anything can happen. It can only be La Vuelta.
Home team, Movistar gain Landa for next year, but no Quintana, nor Valverde in the team this tour. Will they be captained by the rejuvenated Colombian, Carlos Betancur? Or will they look closer to home, with the likes of Rojas and Moreno?
Team Sky are headed once more by Froome. And with 4 TdF wins, yet having never won in Spain, he’s definitely after the red winner’s jersey this time round. Also noteworthy is that his GC strengths were first sighted in La Vuelta; and as they say, life often comes full circle. He’s backed by a solid team, with two local Spaniards in the form of Nieve and Lopes. Interestingly, Nieve is leaving for Orica-Scott next year, but remains a loyal lieutenant at La Vuelta. As mentioned, Landa isn’t present – are contractual loyalties in any doubt, and could Landa leave Froome stranded on a climb? We’ll have to wait for next year to find out.
This takes us nicely onto Orica-Scott. What a fabulous year they’re having. With their efforts in building a solid GC team coming to fruition, they’re pulling out all the stops on this Tour to seize the podium. With the ever popular Esteban Chavez in the mix, and our very own dynamic British duo of Adam and Simon Yates, there could potentially be a 3-pronged attack at their disposal.
That’s just 3 of the teams we’d like to mention. You can see the full line up a the Vuelta link under the picture above. Alternatively, if you have an IG account, team profiles and the very latest transfer news can be accessed at La Bicicleta News
It would be amiss to not mention the Aqua Blue Sport squad from Ireland. A relatively recent addition to the Pro-Continental ranks, it has quickly shot to prominence thanks to a team of visionary leaders and a hungry pack of riders. With the likes of fomer GB National Champion, Adam Blythe, and the powerful Conor Dunne in the ranks, this is a team that has already gone far, but can they reach the dizzy heights of the GC?
Look out for Aqua Blue, who will be changing from their uniform blue, to donning their gold Spartan emblems onto eye-catching white jerseys at this year’s Vuelta
Love him or loathe him, this will be Alberto ‘Pistolero‘ Contatdor’s final tour. And what a way to bow out, at home. Forever the animator, his passion and flare has led the way in the Latin armada. We’ll be looking fondly on how his tour unfolds. Farewell, Bertie!
All the right ingredients are here to make for another exciting Vuetla!
Hanseeno aka ‘The Cobbler’ making it look easy
He was only 19
And finally, the wise cyclist, that is Adam Hansen, knows that 19 is a very good number of Grand Tours to do back to back. Yes, that’s 19 x 3 weeks of the toughest racing in the world, only up against the very best individuals pro cycling has to offer, and Adam Hansen is doing it all over again. We are absolutely elated that he will he will be on the starting line for his favourite GT.
Watch the action live today on EuroSport; SteepHill; or highlights on ITV4 (Freeview 24) from 7pm GMT.
Clearly, it’s not always that easy.
:: All images by the London Baroudeurs except for opening image, by TdF and Adam Hansen which are currently shared via Twitter::
Related links to Spain, discover how London Baroudeur, Lauren conquered the infamous, Mallorca 312.