2022 La Vuelta a Espana

Four Underdogs For The 2022 La Vuelta A España

Four Underdogs For The 2022 La Vuelta A España

La Vuelta a España is often one of the most competitive and unpredictable races to wrap the grand tour stretch for 2022

Aug 16, 2022 by Rebecca Reza
Four Underdogs For The 2022 La Vuelta A España

La Vuelta a España is often one of the most competitive and unpredictable races to wrap the grand tour stretch for 2022. Whether coming back from injury like Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) or Julian Alaphillipe, or pros seeking their first grand tour victory like Michael Woods (Israel – Premier Tech), one thing racing fans may count on is an exciting three weeks of racing in the ever changing weather and steep slopes around Spain. 

Primoz Roglič (Jumbo Visma) would have been a sure ticket for the general classification, hoping to fight for a fourth consecutive victory. However, his crash at the Tour de France has left question marks over his form and whether his recovering injuries will hamper his performance in the high mountains. 

Both Michael Woods and Chris Froome were also forced to exit the Tour early due to positive COVID tests. Decorated veterans Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) will be retiring at the end of the season, hoping to deliver a strong performance in their final grand tour curtain call. 

FloBikes gives you our top underdogs to watch over these next three weeks. 

Michael Woods (Israel – Premier Tech)


2022 will be Michael Woods’ fourth participation at La Vuelta. His best finish was during his debut back in 2017, where he finished 7th on GC – his best grand tour GC result out of the 8 he has contested. The Canadian took a back seat at the Tour last month, supporting his compatriot Hugo Houle who became the first Canadian since 1988 to win a stage. 

During his last Vuelta in 2020, Woods won a punchy stage 7, and came close to winning two more; finishing second on the summit finish for stage 6 and 14 that edition. Woods will likely lead the squad for Israel – Premier Tech, though the team has only confirmed Woods and Chris Froome so far for their roster. Hugo Houle will not be racing as he is expected to return home for a short block of one-day UCI races in North America. 

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick - Step Alpha Vinyl)

The 2022 season had started off well for the 2-time current World Champion. Unfortunately, his luck changed in April when he sustained multiple injuries during a high-speed crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Frenchman hit a tree, sustaining a collapsed lung, broken ribs and scapula. He was able to return to training by late May and competed in the French National Championships. 

Following the advice from his doctors, the team decided to have him skip the Tour, allowing his recovery to continue. He returned to racing at the end of July, winning the opening stage at the Tour de Wallonie. The World Champion has stated the Vuelta is a big objective for him before he focuses on a hopeful third World Championship title. 2022 will be his second participation at La Vuelta since his debut in 2017. Should he miss the running for the overall general classification, look to the 6-time Tour de France stage winner to fight for stages. 

Jack Haig (Bahrain – Victorious)

Jack Haig has come into his own as a true threat to the general classification over the last two seasons. He finished third on GC in Madrid in 2021, celebrating his first Grand Tour GC podium in his third participation at La Vuelta. He tied Cadel Evan’s record for the best finish by an Australian in the Spanish Grand Tour. The 28-year- old Australian was en route to racing an impressive Tour last month as a key threat to the GC, until a split-second crash forced him to abandon the race due to multiple wrist fractures he sustained in the pile-up. The team has yet to announce their final roster, but Mikel Landa and Wout Poels are expected to race, supporting Haig in his quest to top his personal best from 2021. 

Hugh Carthy (EF Education – EasyPost)

EF Education has yet to announce who will be leading their squad on Friday, but it is likely that Hugh Carthy will be taking on the role once again. The high mountains lend well to Carthy’s climbing strengths as he looks to best his third place GC finish in 2020. Carthy secured two top ten finishes on GC at the Giro d’Italia, and Tour of the Alps this spring. He will arrive with motivation to erase the struggles he faced last year in Spain that forced him to abandon in the first week. His South American teammates, Esteban Chaves and Jonathan Caicedo, are on the short list to support him in his GC efforts.