The third Grand Tour of the season, the Vuelta a Espana, is set to see many of the biggest names in the sport lining up at the start in Puerto Banus on the Costa del Sol.
Both Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde of Movistar are set to start. Quintana will be looking to go one better than he did in the Tour, and he will take confidence from the Tour where he was not too far behind Chris Froome on GC.
The Briton hasn’t decided whether he will start the Vuelta yet, and try and achieve a rare Tour-Vuelta double. Froome’s first big performance in a Grand Tour was in the 2011 Vuelta when he finished in second place. He was also runner-up in last year’s race.
Astana will have arguably the strongest team in the race. Vincenzo Nibali will be looking to repeat his win of 2010. Alongside Nibali will be Fabio Aru, Mikel Landa and Luis Leon Sanchez. Aru was fifth in last year’s race, and earlier this season, he finished in second place in the Giro d’Italia. Landa was just one place behind his team mate on GC. The duo are currently preparing for the Vuelta in the Tour of Poland and Tour of Burgos respectively.
A man looking to make amends for disappointment in the Tour de France is Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing). The American rider was fifth in the Tour de France last year, but was forced out of this year’s race when sitting in third place overall, due to illness. It will be only his second appearance in the Vuelta, having last taken part in 2010. Amongst his team mates will be Samuel Sanchez who has performed well here previously.
Others who can be expected to challenge for podium positions include Domenico Pozzovivo (Ag2R-La Mondiale), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto-Soudal).
The race starts on August 22nd with a 7.4 kilometre team trial from Puerto Banus to Marbella.