Ready to tackle La Vuelta for the fourth time (two stage victories in 2013, 8th in 2014, abandon due to illness on the 3rd stage in 2016), Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) shared his views for the upcoming three weeks: “I got some good rest after the Klasika San Sebastian. I had a party to celebrate my Tour de France results and reset everything to start fresh again. I didn’t put on weight, I maintained a good line of conduct. It was already established before the Tour that I would race La Vuelta to get to another level physically and we never changed our mind. The high and mid-mountain stages suit me well. I like La Vuelta, it’s a race where I generally perform well and I like the atmosphere, everyone is more chilled than on the Tour. I’m pondering losing time early to enjoy more freedom later on. Wilco (Kelderman) is there for the general classification and we’ll have a better vision after three days. I’ll help him as much as I can and then I’ll aim for a stage victory. It’s a beautiful route, with less mountain than last year – there’s 10,000m elevation less – but it allows attackers to make it to the finish on several occasions. We have different cards in our hand. To achieve as much as we did on the Giro (overall victory with Tom Dumoulin) and the Tour (four stage wins, Green and Polka-dot jersey for Michael Matthews and himself) would be amazing for the team. We have young riders. Some are riding their first Grand Tour. It’s exciting.”
Kids quizz riders
As they arrived at Nîmes, Warren Barguil (Sunweb), Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), Alexandre Geniez (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Johan Le Bon (FDJ) were welcomed by ten children aged 8-11 years old and invited to participate in the Kids press conference. Two days before the start, Turgis set his ambitions: “Raise the arms at the end of a stage… but we’re 200 riders with the same goal and there’s only 20 stages.” To Le Bon, the favourites of La Vuelta are “always the same. There’s Froome. Is Aru coming?” As for Barguil, he delivered some intimate confidences: “I wasn’t good at football”, “I wasn’t fast when it came to sprinting” and “my dream was to sell cars. I didn’t eye a professional cyclist career but I’m delighted with how things turned out”. Geniez described to the rookie journalists the health lifestyle professional riders follow. His piece of advice will be useful for kids who all have a license in local clubs and will race the Vuelta Junior Cofidis after attending the Team presentation on Friday.
A new award to celebrate the youngest talents
The 72nd edition of La Vuelta is the opportunity to introduce a new award sponsored by Spanish sports newspaper AS, on the occasion of their 50thanniversary, and dedicated to the young riders born after January 1st 1992, in a similar fashion as the White Jersey on the Tour de France. Everyday, the best young rider on the general classification will climb onto the podium at the end of the stage and he’ll wear a distinctive red bib on the next day. About 60 riders will compete for this award, including Simon and Adam Yates (Orica-Scott), Louis Meintjes and Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates), Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana), Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), Bob Jungels, Julian Alaphilippe and Enric Mas (Quick-Step Floors), Marc Soler (Movistar), Jaime Roson (Caja Rural), Sam Oomen (Team Sunweb)…
How to vibe with La Vuelta
The official song of La Vuelta has a choreography to dance along. To vibe with Bailarina, from the group Maldita Nerea, check the moves here. The song was introduced 50 days ahead of the official start and a promotional campaign, filmed in the French city of Nîmes, will accompany the Spanish public television station’s daily broadcasts of the 21 stages of La Vuelta.
33 different countries in the peloton
The official startlist (attached) shows riders from 33 different countries will take part in the 72nd La Vuelta. Spanish riders are the most numerous: 31 (that’s four more than last year, when France led the charge with 34). Italy and France are even (20), ahead of Belgium (17), Netherlands (15) and Colombia (12). Richard Carapaz (Movistar) will be first rider from Equator to race La Vuelta. Two Northern-Africans are participating: Youcef Reguigui (Dimension Data), from Algeria, and Anass Ait El Abdia (UAE Team Emirates). 64 riders are eligible in the U26 category. The participants average 27.6 years old. The youngest, Lennard Kämna (Sunweb), is set to celebrate his 21st birthday on the day of the Angliru, just before reaching Madrid, and the oldest, Svein Tuft (Orica-Scott), is 40 years old. Dani Moreno (Movistar) is the most experienced, having already completed La Vuelta ten times. 75 riders will discover the event and 54 of them will ride their maiden Grand Tour.