As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the cycling season has been somewhat altered in terms of its calendar. Races which had originally been slated to take place from around May through into the summer have been forced to be postponed, meaning that the sports three major races have been crammed into a short period of time.
The last of these is the Vuelta a España, which gets underway soon and is one of cycling’s major events. Every year, cycling fans all over the world examine the odds on their favourite bet exchange and try and work out who will win the race. This year will be no different, and although the race has been pushed back from its original dates, it’s still set to be an entertaining affair.
Not up to speed on the Vuelta a España? Then read on as we give you the lowdown on the 2020 edition of this great Spanish sporting event.
What is the Vuelta a España?
The Vuelta a España makes up one third of professional cycling’s Grand Tour events, along with the Giro D’Italia and the famous Tour de France. This means it is a race on a larger scale than many others, usually taking place over a three-week period. Races like these are the ultimate test of talent, strength and perseverance, and only the finest riders emerge victorious in the end.
The race is run over various different stages, taking in multiple areas of Spain before finishing in Madrid. This year, the majority of the stages will be in the northern part of the country.
What happened last year?
Last year, the winner was Slovenian Primož Roglič of Team Jumbo-Visma, who finished the race a clear two minutes and 33 seconds clear of second-placed Alejandro Valverde of Movistar Team. It was a fine few weeks for Roglič, who also laid claim to the points classification jersey ahead of fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogačar.
The mountains classification was won by Geoffrey Bouchard, who took the blue jersey off the back of Ángel Madrazo at the 15th stage. Meanwhile, Pogačar won the white jersey for the young rider classification, after an entertaining battle with Colombian cyclist Miguel Ángel López.
Who are the favourites this time around?
As the 2020 edition of the Vuelta rolls around, all eyes are on Chris Froome, who is entering his final Grand Tour race with Ineos Grenadiers, formerly Team Sky. Froome has been missing in action from the major races for a while, after a heavy fall in training in 2019 led to some serious injuries. But now, Froome is fit again and raring to go.
His teammate Richard Carapaz is another to look out for, having won the Giro D’Italia last year. The Colombian excelled at the Tour de France after his team leader Egan Bernal was forced to withdraw, finishing second in two stages and restoring some pride for Ineos.
Roglič is also heavily fancied as you would expect, and he’ll be out with a point to prove after he came so close to winning the Tour de France. Other names in contention include Tom Dumoulin and Emanuel Buchman, but with this being the last Grand Tour event of the year, every rider will be doubly motivated to end 2020 on a high.