Vuelta a Espana 2015 Cycling Preview
Vuelta a Espana 2015 is on our doorstep. Quickly two notes that will worry the strength of teams and the race this year. Firstly the worlds are on stateside this year meaning those aiming for that will leave earlier than they might have if it was in Europe. Secondly the opening team time trial has descended into a farce due to the parcours that somehow got chosen. It won’t be changed so it looks like they will neutralize it now and be a show stage.
Adam Hansen is going for a 13th consecutive grand tour finish in this one to go for an all time record. He was battered in the Tour but it didn’t stop him and he continues on here. He is a top rider and I was delighted to meet him at the Giro in 2014 when his streak was all the talk and it has continued since. Best of luck to him here, a stage win would be nice.
Its a mixed field, but its a very interesting race for me. Last years 2nd Froome lines up with Sky in the number 1 jersey with Contador absent. Its all about how he comes off his Tour victory of which he was solely feeling the pinch of that race he might just in my view struggle to show up for another 3 weeks here. Henao is here as a strong back up option. As always the steam is strong unlike lesser teams the talent doesn’t tend to drop off outside the Tour. Henao is fresh with no Grand Tour this year and in 2013 he had shown glimpses of his talents.
Ag2r send Pozzovivo here undoubted leader after his big misfortune cut his Giro short and this has now been reset as his main objective for 2015. He had a tune up without pushing too hard but he will enjoy the steep climbing of the Vuelta. His 5th in Suisse post Giro was impressive and given how fresh he should be I fancy he could push for top 5. Cherel supports off his solid Tour showing. Hopefully they can do enough for him when he does need it. Vuelta a Espana 2015
Astana come in with several options on the horizon for this. The main man must be Fabio Aru who had a very strong Giro coming in 2nd, can he manged a repeat, health issues early in season might get in way to peak twice is a real test. He looked really sharp in Poland and thats all that he has raced since the Giro. Landa was his near equal in the Giro but is leaving for sky so must be on the naughty list now. He might have a stage in him but expect Sky might be happy for him to soft pedal. Lastly Nibali comes from the Tour and he had got quiet hard time from the team till he peaked well in week 3, its debatable how well he can go here, but it is not like he has peaked for long this year to not do it all over again.
BMC send both Sanchez who is in his latter years and the rather impressive Atapuma, Sanchez rode a full tour and grabbed 3rd, Atapuma was a 16th in the Giro both will provide strong support to Van Garderen who comes here from illness at the Tour, he really needs to go deliver here as BMC have placed a strong team in support of his plan B here. Local outfit Caja Rural are lead by Arroyo, Its been a pretty mixed season for him so I am doubting he can excel again. Txurraka who is off to Orica might prove a stronger rider overall.
Cofidis have been lead by the sprinter Bouhanni for this one. So he has a team built around him for the most part. Navarro is here with a chance in his home race and he surely will be much more involved than he was at the Tour, Colombia target this after missing out on the Giro this year. Cano had a good Turkey then cooled off, Duarte has never quiet lived up to his hype and has been targeting mountain jerseys this season. Torres has had a few notable results and could be the one to watch Quintero can also do a bit and is one of a number to take a climbing stage in this. Rubiano has gone ok and carries in some form all in all the team would be disappointed not to be heavily involved in the mountain with Torres another option.
Etixx are GC light here and its hard to see them involved here. Bouet for me is not a GC rider. Brambilla might be an option but even top 20 would be a feat in my view for him, but maybe he has something in his pocket. No doubting that a weak looking FDJ team is looking to the pocket rocket Ellissonde to refind his best form here. He showed some life in Poland after a quiet Giro this year and some of these climbs should really suit him. IAM send the departing Chavanel as he goes for all three grand tours in a season. He had two podiums but failed to grab a stage win thats his ambition for here. Coppel has not been at his best but if he clicks he could prove a threat to the overall.
Lampre will be wondering if Niemiec is going show up this season after a disaster season with little to show. Grmay the Ethiopian has some talent but hasn’t always had a chance to get involved maybe he can here. Durasek Turkey winner had a quiet tour I expect the same here again. Ruben Plaza had a stage win in the Tour but doubt he gets involved overall here. Lotto Soudal send the clashing Van Den Broeck and Monfort again here with a view of them trying to out do each other for a top 10 spot. But watch out for De Clercq he has had a good Poland and earlier a good Dauphine. He was 34th last year but I see him exceeding that. Both Van Den Broeck and Monfort finished together again in Poland it will be close again.
Movistar have there duo of Valverde and Quintana for this. Both would have dug in for there podiums in the Tour its interesting to see how they come out of that now. They have not raced since and it be interesting but in my view Valverde shouldn’t be able to peak after a long season for him but Quintana who got going late in the Tour may have a second life in him. The team supporting is decent looking. MTN look light trying to compete back to back grand tours. Prehaps Berhane who didn’t race the Tour can come good after decent show in smaller races. Meintjes is bound to feel the pinch of nearly a whole Tour in his legs.
Orica line up with the backing behind Ewan and giving him a sprint train. But they are still left with the talented Colombian Chaves. 14th in Suisse since his rather quiet showing in the Giro. Hopefully with pressure off he can thrive here. Cannondale will be hoping the resurgence of Dombrowski is rewarded with him having a good vuelta showing. He has enjoyed racing stateside and won Utah at a canter but its another ask again for him deliver now back in Europe. Talansky had an iffy start to his Tour but got home for an 11th in the end. Fresh he would have been a decent option but I don’t see how he is able for another 3 weeks hard riding. Dan Martin is also here from racing the Tour he is likely stage hunting with his move away from the team in the news. Vuelta a Espana 2015
Europcar have Rolland here maybe looking to impress any possible additional sponsors to help the team next year. Rolland came 10th in the end in the Tour and its hard to see him fresh enough to repeat that. Sicard improving this year also has himself a Tour in the legs here. Giant will look to stage wins with Degenkolb and Dumoulin but might hope Craddock can come good in the overall picture. 17th in Poland was decent and I’d like to see him involved in this one.
Katusha have been in the news with the back dated positive of Caruso so the line up has changed for this race along with the story of some drunken escapades in Rio from two other riders. Rodriguez comes from two stage wins in the Tour and I wonder will stage hunting be on the cards for him again here as he winds down his career. Maybe he left a bit in the tank and can excel in this one. He has managed just a single podium in the Vuelta missing out before for a number of reasons. Machado raced the tour but had a decent Burgos will his late call up be a blessing or mean he comes in under prepared. Moreno was 3rd in Burgos and is fresh for this can he finally deliver over 3 weeks for himself in what has been a light season for him.
Lotto NL Jumbo had a solid Tour but find resources strained with Ten Dam out injured as they approach this Vuelta. Bennett was 21st in Poland, but this should prove too much for him as the teams most likely leader. Tinkoff come in with two big names in the team as Majka and Sagan will race. Majka had a full tour and wasn’t too far off the pace but he has shown before he can bounce back but I doubt we see him in overall picture. Lastly Trek are here with a healing Cancellara who would have hoped to win this now proved silly team time trial. Zubeldia had a below average Tour by his very average standards so is a little quiet. Zoidl can also climb a bit but Frank Schleck has a final chance here to prove he still has something to be a winner in cycling.
vuelta a Espana 2015
I will try top up at bigger on Tejay but I don’t think he should be 50/1 for this he should have another one in his legs and his Tour had been going quiet well till he fell ill. Moreno is a long shot but at 300+ i had to have dig. Pozzovivo is dead fresh and he has one last hope of a Grand Tour win he might catch the others flat. I am not mad keen on Quintana or Froome its a trust thing, at three times the price id prefer to opt for Aru.
.5pts Tejay Van Garderen 50/1 bet365
.1pt Daniel Moreno 300 betfair
.5pts Dominco Pozzovivo 34+ Betfair
.75pts Fabio Aru 7/1 betfred