Ineos defend title amid uncertain Grand Tour plans
Twelve months ago, Ineos Grenadiers produced one of the most dominant performances in the team’s history to seal a clean sweep of the podium at the Volta a Catalunya.
Of that line-up, the men who finished first (Adam Yates) and third (Geraint Thomas) will be missing, but the team remains very strong with Richie Porte (who was second last year) and Richard Carapaz both leading the line, alongside a talented and youthful contingent including Pavel Sivakov, Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana podium finisher Carlos Rodriguez, and Australian Luke Plapp, who was so impressive at the UAE Tour.
The race could be very significant in terms of how Ineos Grenadiers approach the Grand Tours this season. Egan Bernal’s injury has thrown the team’s plans into disarray, and at present it is still uncertain who will be their main man at the Tour de France — an unusual situation for a team that usually so meticulously plans everything.
Porte and Carapaz are both currently earmarked to ride the Giro d’Italia rather than the Tour, but how he and the others go in Catalunya could prompt a reshuffle in the team’s Grand Tour planned line-ups.
In this sense, the case of Carapaz is especially intriguing. Though he’s also down to ride the Giro, Bernal’s injury has prompted speculation that the Ecuadorian might be moved to the Tour instead, given that he’s the team’s most established fit Grand Tour rider. Would a continued struggle for form in Catalunya make […]