For some, the Vuelta a España is a chance for redemption at the end of a trying season. For others, the Vuelta stands as an opportunity to make a first mark on grand tour racing. In 2019 the Vuelta has a line up of bonafide grand tour stars who have something yet to prove this year.
Below, our favorites for the GC battle at this year’s Vuelta a España.
Steven Kruijswijk will start the Vuelta a España alongside Primoz Roglic. Both riders are capable leaders on Jumbo-Visma's impressive Vuelta rosters.
Kruijswijk recently finished third at the Tour de France, his strongest grand tour result to date. He knows how to put together a successful Vuelta following the Tour de France. In 2018 he finished fourth at the Vuelta following a fifth place finish at the Tour de France.
Kruijswijk will be flanked by the best team Jumbo-Visma has to offer, with both Primoz Roglic and George Bennett in attendance. The Dutch team's roster suggests they mean business.
Primoz Roglic was the odds on favorite to win the 2019 Giro d’Italia. The Slovenian had been on impeccable form leading into the race, but everything unraveled in the final stages of the race as he succumbed to fatigue.
He has competed once, finishing fourth at the Slovenian national championships, since finishing the Giro d’Italia. His form going into the Vuelta is a mystery, but Jumbo-Visma believes the Slovenian is ready to make another bid for a grand tour victory.
Quintana will lead Movistar’s roster of grand tour royalty. Joined by previous grand tour winners Alejandro Valverde and Richard Carapaz, Quintana will look to improve upon his eighth place finish at this year’s Tour de France.
Quintana has not won a grand tour since the 2016 Vuelta, but at only 29 years old, the Colombian is far from closing his book on grand tour success.
The mountainous parcours of the Vuelta certainly suits Quintana, the question is how much cohesion will exist between him and his Movistar teammates. Both Quintana and Carapaz are due to leave the Spanish team at the end of the year, which will presents a major challenge to a team that already struggles with cohesion.
Miguel Angel Lopez
The young Colombian quietly finished the Tour of Poland, his first race since the Giro d’Italia, in 40th place.
Lopez’s Giro bid was disrupted on stage 20 when a spectator collided with him. Lopez lost one minute and 45 seconds to Richard Carapaz on the stage and went on to finish seventh overall, which was still good enough to claim the white jersey.
The 25 year old’s form remains a mystery leading into the Vuelta a España, but his ability in the mountains solidifies him as a favorite for the title.
Could Lopez complete the trifecta of South American grand tour victories in 2019?
Though he won two stages on his way to claiming the overall of this year's Giro d'Italia, many still consider Carapaz an underdog for the Vuelta a España. This is perhaps understandable as Carapaz is often overshadowed by his teammates Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa.
However, Carapaz recently rode to a strong third place finish in the Vuelta a Burgos, his first race since the Giro. And, he’s an explosive rider, well suited to the steep and undulating mountains of Spain.
Carapaz can back up his Giro win with a strong ride at the Vuelta. However, Movistar has yet to declare a team leader, on a packed roster boasting former Vuelta winners Quintana and Valverde. A strong ride in the stage 10 time trial can help solidify Carapaz as the team's dedicated GC man.