For better and for worse, the Vuelta a España is a bit different from its other grand tour companions.
Last on the racing calendar, the Spanish grand tour is sometimes viewed as a “leftover” race, ideal for riders looking to make up for earlier disappointments or injury. Though the race’s stature has slowly risen over the past few decades, the Vuelta is still considered cycling’s third wheel, behind the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia in prestige, difficulty, and importance.
Yet despite all the above, or perhaps because of it, the Vuelta often delivers the most interesting and gripping GC battle of the season.
Because it’s not the peak of importance, many squads don’t send the A-team riders, meaning the race action isn’t throttled and controlled. Because riders are chasing results and the season is winding down, no one has anything to lose.
And due to the Vuelta’s ever more explosive race profile, the race sets itself nicely for dramatic tactical raids and massive GC swings rarely seen in the season’s other grinding, more controlled grand tours.
So who are the top favorites for this year’s Vuelta?A few big names are confirmed not to be racing, including Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma). Three-time defending champion Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) is still on the bubble, and it’s not looking likely that Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) will make his racing return at the demanding Vuelta.Even without the peloton’s “Big Four,” this year’s race should produce plenty of fireworks. Here the […]