What to Expect at La Vuelta a España 2017
Of the three Grand Tours, it is La Vuelta a España that stretches the capabilities of the top riders. Since every rider copes differently as the season wears on, fatigue plays a major role. Just look at Chris Froome. Of the five times he participated it La Vuelta, he only managed to don the red jersey once. This was back in 2011, after the Salamanca trial when Froome first participated in the race. He wore the jersey for just one day before handing it over to his team leader Bradley Wiggins.
Despite being a formidable competitor, Froome has never been able to win La Vuelta. In his five attempts, he placed 2nd in 2011, fourth in 2012, dropped out in 2015 and came second again in 2016. When the Olympics are on, the stress of the games coupled with the long trips really takes its toll on the riders. This was Froome’s big advantage last year, something Nairo Quintana was keenly aware. Having picked up a disappointing third place in the Tour de France, Quintana skipped the Rio Olympics to in order to go all out on La Vuelta.
Froome Has a Point to Prove
If Froome does return this year for his sixth attempt, he will be back in order to win it once and for all. He will also be out to prove that is in fact possible to win two Grand Tours in the same season. What we have seen of his calendar so far, all points towards this. With no victories before the Tour de France, Froome is in peak condition for La Vuelta. The team contracts have not yet been confirmed but many of his Tour de France rivals have expressed their desire to compete against the Brit.
La Vuelta is a breeding ground for revenge and is wide open for a multitude of riders to make their mark. Will this be the year that Romain Bardet shows his metal? Will Fabio Aru build on his 2015 success or will Alberto Contador make this his big goodbye? There is also the chance for Simon and Adam Yates to take a triple victory along with Esteban Chaves. Let’s not forget about Thomas de Gendt. A recent Internet poll voted de Gendt as the 2017’s most combative rider. Since picking up a win at Chalet Reinard in 2016, de Gendt has been itching to win an important mountain stage at La Vuelta, could Angliru be his chance?
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Betting Odds: Outright Winner
- Chris Froome 1.80
- Vincenzo Nibali 5.50
- Alberto Contador 7.50
- Ilnur Zakarin 11.00
- Fabio Aru 16.00
- Miguel Angel Lopez 17.00
- Johan Esteban Chaves 23.00
- Adam Yates 29.0
- Wouter Poels 29.00