The 2020 Vuelta a España gets underway this week amidst a rising second wave of Covid measures sweeping Europe. The race organization released an outline of protocols in place to keep rider safety at the forefront, minimizing spectators, canceling the promotional caravan, and tightening the race bubble. A mobile lab will be following the race to test regularly and as needed with hopes of reaching Madrid in November.
The revised 18-stage grand tour will be one for the climbers, with multitude summit finishes, including the Col du Tourmalet to end the first week. Due to the packed season, many grand tour favorites are skipping the Vuelta either because they are currently racing the Giro d’Italia or have ended their season early. The grand tour will have 64 riders making their Vuelta debut, with several veterans hoping to end this unprecedented season on a strong note.
FloBikes have chosen a few of our favorites to watch out for.
The multiple Grand Tour Champion, and 2X winner of the Vuelta will be racing his final race with INEOS Grenadiers as the designated leader after a decade with the team. Froome has yet to find his form since his recovery from a near career-ending injury suffered at the Critérium du Dauphiné last season. He has a strong climbing support team that will be crucial to back him, including Richard Carapaz, debutant Iván Sosa and Andrey Amador.
Dumoulin proved his climbing strength at the Tour de France last month, working as a domestique for Primoz Roglic. Jumbo Visma announced the Dutchman would be sharing the lead role with Roglic, allowing the race to determine the GC leader. Should Roglic find his form to be lacking after such a hard fought Tour de France, he will surely repay the favor to support Dumoulin in his bid for a first overall win at the Vuelta.
The young Colombian climber and TT specialist headed into the Tour de France after winning the Critérium du Dauphiné. His form continued with an explosive win on stage 13 summit finish on Le Puy Mary. Luck evaded him after he suffered a crash, leaving him out of GC contention. He leads a strong EF Pro Cycling team at the Vuelta with Hugh Carthy and Michael Woods to support the 24-year-old in his bid or victory.
Martin is enjoying one of his best seasons to date, making his debut at the Vuelta. The Frenchman finished third at the Critérium du Dauphiné, followed by a strong performance at the Tour. He animated the race, and showed consistency holding third on GC before slipping out of the top ten in the final week. He will miss the strength of his climbing domestique, Jesus Herrera, who announced a positive Covid test days before the start. Natnael Berhane will take his place, in supporting Martin’s GC aspirations.
Pinot will lead Groupama FDJ, after a disappointing Tour de France for the Frenchman. The team has been on a winning streak at the Giro with Arnaud Démare leading the sprint classification. Will the momentum will continue at the Vuelta? Pinot will look to the Col du Tourmalet where he raced to stage victory at the Tour in 2019, to boost his efforts in the fight for the GC.