3 Keys to Understanding the Vuelta a España

The Vuelta a España has just begun, here are three keys to understanding one of the 3 greats of road cycling.

Participants of the Vuelta España in Malaga

The clear favorite of the Vuelta is Primož Roglič. The representative of the Jumbo-Visma team has won the two previous Laps and it is assumed that he will arrive strong at this edition. Photo: Wikimedia-Frog17

LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño

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Leer en español: 3 claves para entender la Vuelta a España

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The clear favorite of the Vuelta is Primož Roglič . The representative of the Jumbo-Visma team has won the two previous Spaniard Tours and it is assumed that he will arrive strong at this edition. Roglic, in addition, just won the gold medal in the Olympic road cycling time trial, a very important achievement that is in his favor.

The other name that sounds strongly is that of the Colombian Egan Bernal, the most recent winner of the Giro d'Italia, who did not participate this year in the Tour de France or the Olympics and therefore arrives refreshed at this Vuelta.

In addition to these two, the Movistar Team has several candidates who, although they are not clear main candidates, have excellent opportunities to occupy a place on the podium. From this team we can highlight Enric Mas, Miguel Ángel López and Alejandro Valverde .

Nor can we rule out the Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz , who recently won the gold medal in the road test in Tokyo.

2. Key stages

There are three stages that will be key to determining the next winner of the Tour of Spain.

Stage 18: This will be the toughest mountain stage of the entire route . It comprises 159.2 km between Salas - Alto de Gamoniteiro, largely uphill. The last 15.9 kilometers are climbed with a slope of 9.1%. Almost at the end of the Vuelta, and only 24 hours after another demanding mountain stage, stage 18 will put the endurance of the cyclists to the test.

Stage 9: Another mountain stage, this stage has not made its appearance in the Vuelta since 2009 , and for good reason. This route covers a distance of 187.8 km between Puerto Lumbreras and Alto de Velefique. What makes this stage so difficult is the heat and the exposed roads of Alto de Velefique. It is almost 4500 m of pure climbing!

Stage 5: Tarancon- Albacete. Although this path is mostly flat, it also has very little protection from the forces of nature. Strong winds could pose a hazard to bicyclists . Proper strategy and proper fan formation will be key to surviving this tough stage.

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3. The absent
Several renowned cyclists will miss this edition of the Vuelta a España. Of these, the most important is Tadej Pogcar, the most recent Tour de France champion. Chris Froome, who has only had bad appereances this season , will not perform either.

The Colombians will also regret the absence of Nairo Quintana and Fernando Gaviria , two important figures who, although they do not have a chance to win the Vuelta, could have win some stages. Finally, Belgian star Remco Evenepoel will not participate in this edition of the Vuelta either .