2022 La Vuelta a Espana

La Vuelta A España To Kick Off In 2022 With A Team TT In The Netherlands

La Vuelta A España To Kick Off In 2022 With A Team TT In The Netherlands

The 2022 La Vuelta A España starts on Friday, August 19th and will embark on the 3280.5 km trek around Spain before ending in Madrid on September 11.

Aug 15, 2022 by Rebecca Reza
Teams Sharpen Rosters For Vuelta a España

The 2022 La Vuelta A España starts on Friday, August 19th and will embark on the 3280.5 km trek around Spain before ending at the Grand Finale in Madrid on September 11.  

This year's Vuelta kicks off with a team time trial in Utrecht, the second start in the Netherlands for the Vuelta. The Dutch city had been planned as the fourth start outside of Spain back in 2020 before the pandemic forced the race to postpone its plans. 

The 77th La Vuelta de España is back as promised; expect a thrilling first stage to establish the general classification in the Dutch stages before returning to Spain. The Vuelta last began with a team time trial in 2019, when Astana stormed to the win, awarding Miguel Ángel López the first red jersey that year. The Colombian climber is on form after his third place on GC at the Vuelta a Burgos earlier this month, earning second on the final stage tying with stage winner João Almeida (UAE) on GC. 

Vincenzo Nibali will be racing and will likely lead the team in his final grand tour before he retires. Astana has yet to confirm their squad, but López is expected to race in support. The opening team time trial is one of the longest in recent history, set at 23.3km. The course is pancake flat, but features several tight turns that could be tricky to navigate. 

Jumbo-Visma had been heavy favorites in 2019 during the opening TTT, before the team crashed heavily. They would bounce back over the ensuing weeks, earning Primoz Roglič his first Vuelta victory of his career. The Slovenian has since dominated the Grand Tour, winning every year since. A fourth victory was in question after he crashed out of the Tour last month with a shoulder and back injury. He returned to training in early August and will lead the team. 

The next two stages are made for the sprinters, though incoming winds from the sea could cause early havoc for the general classification. Look for Bora-Hansgrohe’s Sam Bennett, Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Deceuninck), and Pascal Ackermann (UAE) as favorites in the first sprint battles. The King of the Mountain jersey could see its first leader after the second day, with a small category 4 climb midway in the stage. 

The race will then pack up to travel to Spain for their first rest day. Riders will have hoped to recover well on Tuesday, facing a couple of punchy stages in the Basque Country, before facing their first mountain top finish during their climb in Cantabria up to San Miguel de Aguayo on stage 6. This will likely be the first real GC battle and also a chance for GC favorites to regain time lost in the opening stage. Jumbo-Visma, Quickstep, and UAE have strong teams on paper for the TTT and will be expected to do well to set up their GC leaders. 

2022 Giro d’Italia winner Jai Hindley of Bora-Hansgrohe, Richard Carapaz for INEOS, and Michael Woods of Israel-Premier Tech will likely also be vying for the GC. Stage 8 will feature the Colláu Fancuaya mountain climb in Spain’s Asturias region, making its Vuelta debut. The first week ends with a brutal stage 9, climbing four mountains before hitting the wall of the Nava Summit. 

The second week will begin with a 30.9 km individual time trial in the heat, taking place along the Mediterranean coast following the second rest day. Primoz Roglič and Remco Evenepoel (Quickstep) should shine, whereas GC climbers like Carapaz and 2018 Vuelta Champion, Simon Yates (BikeExchange), could struggle a bit. The final stretch along the coastline may prove to be challenging with expected winds being a factor. The sprinters will have two more chances for a stage win before the final week, on stages 11 and 13. 

The Vuelta is known to favor climbers for the overall, sticking tough climbs in what otherwise would be sure stage opportunities for the sprinters. Stage 12 is one of two uphill finishes after a mostly flat route, other than the penultimate stage before Madrid. The GC favorites will depend on their domestiques to keep them safe in the flats, before another brutal summit finish that could prove to be a shake up for the GC. 

Rolling into the final week, race organizers left plenty of opportunities for the GC to launch attacks in the battle for time. After a sprint stage on day 16 to Tomares where Matteo Trentin won in 2017, stage 17 will be the second uphill finish going up the category 2 Monasterio de Tentudía climb. The rolling stage lends itself to a day for the breakaway, should they have the strength to keep their distance to the finish. The last two days before the penultimate battle might leave creative opportunities for the overall favorites. 

Stage 18 looks to be a beautiful stage for the spectators but one the favorites will be eyeing with concern – either to defend their lead or hoping to gain time as the days tick away. Stage 19 is short in the profile but an interesting route, doing two circuits up and over the Puerto del Piélago before a fast descent heading to a flat finishing straight-away. 

The final day of battle will cross over the same roads where Fabio Aru sealed his overall victory in the Guadarrama Mountain range, beating Tom Dumoulin in 2015. The 181km stage will feature two passes up the Puerto de Navacerrada. Depending on the time gaps on GC, this could prove to be a decisive stage before the grand finale in Madrid on Sunday. 

Watch our daily coverage LIVE on FloBikes beginning Friday, with rider interviews and highlights posted each day.