Who’s riding the Vuelta?

Who ISN’T riding the Vuelta? The Spanish Grand Tour is generally a back-up plan or secondary target for the very best riders, which means the line-up can be a bit hit and miss. This year, for various reasons, it seems to have secured one of the strongest fields seen in any race in years.

There’s no saying everyone will be in absolute top form, but most of the major names will be hopeful that they are somewhere in that vicinity. Make no mistake, whoever wins will have had a tough old time.

The 2013 vintage

If you followed last year’s Tour de France, it’s worth noting that the entire podium is taking part: Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana (who also won this year’s Giro) and Joaquim Rodriguez.

From last year’s Vuelta, we have the winner, Chris Horner, and third-placed Alejandro Valverde; while from last year’s Giro, we have second-placed Rigoberto Uran and third-placed Cadel Evans.

This year’s vintage

Fabio Aru completed the podium at this year’s Giro behind Quintana and Uran. He’s racing, as is Thibaut Pinot, less-than-fresh from third place at this year’s Tour.

Beyond the GC

There’s more! Mark Cavendish will be there sprinting. Peter Sagan will be there sprinting and no-handed wheelieing and racing up hills. Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara will be milling around being all snobby about stage racing and saying it’s not as good as the classics, as will Philippe Gilbert. Dan Martin will be trying not to fall of his bike and the man who isn’t his brother, Tony, will presumably be looking to spend a whole stage out in front on his own as part of his insane training regime for the World Championships time trial which follows shortly afterwards.

What more could you possibly want?

Laurens Ten Dam maybe?

He’s there too! And if you’re a real connoisseur of the lower half of the top ten, he and Haimar Zubeldia will have to fend off Robert Gesink.

The race starts on the 23rd of this month.