Vuelta a Espana 2019: Favorites, Team presentation, Stages...
2019 Vuelta a Espana is the 74th edition of the Tour of Spain. It will be held from August 24, 2019, to September 15, 2019.
In three weeks of racing cyclist will ride 3,272 km, divided into 21 stages. This years Vuelta starts with 24km Team time trail and contains eight summit finishes. The 36km almost flat individual time trial wil be raced on stage 10 and it will finish in Pau, France.
There are very few flat stages available for the sprinters, so the overall stages are more suited for climbers.
Vuelta ends in Madrid again on September 15.
UCI rank: #4
29 year-old rider from Slovenia. His cycling career startet very late in 2012, since his first profesional sport was ski jumping. But the injury forced him to redraw from winter sports.
He started this year very strong. From the end of February until the start of May, Roglic won the overall classification of every race he entered: the UAE Tour, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie.
He was one of main contentders to win the Giro d'Italia, staring strong and holding the pink leader's jersey for several days. Some bad luck and crash on a teammate's borrowed bike effectively put him out of contention for the win.
This will be Roglic Vuelta's debut. If he can hold close to overall leaders on hard mountain stages, he is the main contender to win Vuelta a Espana. Amoung all climbers in this race he is the far best time trialist. And 36 km long time trial on stage 10 suits him perfectly.
The current form is a little mistery, since after Giro he wasn’t racing. Grand tour starts: 4 Best Grand tours results: 3 place (Giro d'Italia 2019), 4 place (Tour de France 2018)
Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana)
UCI rank: #18
25 year-old Lopez has kept quiet since the Giro, he has only raced the Tour de Poland since completing the Giro. He was little disappointined with final seventh place. But still he won the best young rider's jersey.
He is the only returning podium finisher from last year. This year course is ideal for him, but like many of South American riders time trialing is not his strong suit.
Grand tour starts: 5 Best Grand tours results: 3 place (Vuelta 2018), 3 place (Giro d'Italia 2018)
Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
UCI rank: #27
29 year-old Columbian rider has not had a great season. But he managed to take the spectacular stage win at this year Tour de France. It's hard to expect full team support, since he is leaving the team this at the end of this year.
Like Lopez, time trialing is not his strong side. Grand tour starts: 13 Best Grand tours results: 1 place (Vuelta 2016), 1 place (Giro d'Italia 2014)
Estaban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott)
UCI rank: #328
29 year-old last Grand Tour podium finish was three years ago on the 2016 Vuelta. Since then he had a long struggle with the Epstein Barr virus. Last year after Giro d'Italia he took some time to recover. But this year he is showing some good legs again. He won a mountain stage on Giro this year.
Also like Lopez and Quintana, time trialing is his weakness. Grand tour starts: 9 Best Grand tours results: 2 place (Giro d'Italia 2014), 3 place (Vuelta 2016)
Top Contender teams
The Dutch squad are here with Roglič, Kruijswijk and Bennett. They are fully behind Roglič as team leader, which is a sensible move, as the route suits him very well. They will want to start by winning the TTT, but it’s not just the kilometres against the clock in the Slovenian’s favour. Roglič is very strong on steep gradients, just think back to his excellent performances in the Basque Country. He was 3rd in the Giro, but an illness during the race hampered his performance. Kruijswijk is also “fresh” from finishing 3rd in the Tour, if he’s maintained his form, they will be incredibly hard to beat.
Movistar is on home soil always one of the teams to beat. Their top guns are Valverde and Quintana. Loosing Carapaz just before the start of the race is a huge blow for the team. Valverde was consistent in France, eventually finishing in 9th place. Given that both Quintana and Carapaz are leaving the team, I wonder what their approach will be.
López certainly enjoys the support of one of the strongest teams at the race, with Jakob Fuglsang and the Izagirre brothers.
Stage 5: L'Eliana to Obs. Astro. de Javalambre (170km)
The first major summit of the race will finish at almost 2000m altitude. Stage will not decide who will win the race, but it will show the rides who will not compete for GS standings.
Last climb is 11km long with a "fake" 7.8% gradient. Some sections are peaking over 15% gradient.
Stage 7: Onda to Mas de la Costa (183km)
Long stage starts after already two summit finishes in a row. The riders will feel the legs before the start. First half of the stage is flat, but then will follow four categorized climbs.
And for the finish the riders have to tackle with Alto Mas de la Costa. Climb is only 4 kilometers long, but the average grade is over 12 %. The climb was last used in 2016, Mathias Frank won from the break.
Stage 9: Andorra La Vella to Cortals d'Encamp (94km)
The shortest stage of the race with only 94km. But with three masive climbs and almost no flat sections. The rides will gain over 3000 vertical meters. The second HC climb on Coll de la Gallina is over 12 km long with average grading of 8.3%.
Stage will end with first category climb with 3.5km long gravel road.
Stage 13: Bilbao to Los Machucos (166km)
Another brutal stage with seven categorized climbs.
Stage 16: Pravia to Alto de la Cubilla (144km)
Stage 18: Colmenar Viejo to Bercerril de la Sierra (177km)