Yates chasing rare defence, home riders' winless run - Vuelta a Espana in Opta facts

By Sports Desk August 23, 2019

The final Grand Tour race of 2019 starts on Saturday when the Vuelta a Espana gets off and running.

A 13.4 kilometre team time trial in Torrevieja starting at its famous salt lakes kicks off the 74th edition of the Vuelta, which will cover 3290.7kms and take in 57 summits.

Simon Yates will be looking to do what no rider has done since 2005 and retain the title, but sadly Richard Carapaz's chances of joining an exclusive group of riders to win both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta were ended by a crash in training on Sunday.

Here we look at the best Opta facts ahead of the fight for the red jersey.

- British riders have won the last two editions of the Vuelta (Chris Froome in 2017 then Yates in 2018), after winning only one of the first 71 (Froome in 2011 after the annulation of Juan Jose Cobo's win).

- Spanish riders are winless in the last four editions of the Vuelta, their second-longest run without a win in their home Grand Tour after 1992-1997 (6). The last Spaniard to win La Vuelta was Alberto Contador in 2014.

- If a non-European rider wins the Vuelta, it would be the first year in history that no rider from Europe has won any of the three Grand Tours.

- Yates is the first title holder of La Vuelta to appear in the following edition since Froome in 2012 (after the annulation of Cobo's win).

- Only three riders have previously achieved the Giro/Vuelta double: Eddy Merckx (1973), Giovanni Battaglin (1981) and Contador (2008).

- Alejandro Valverde has finished on the Vuelta podium six times in 12 appearances (2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014), a record in the race alongside Roberto Heras.

- This will be Valverde's 13th participation in the Vuelta, more than any other active rider. Only Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (15), Eduardo Chozas (14) and Inigo Cuesta (14) have appeared more in the history of the race.

- Valverde has won the points classification in four of the last seven editions of the Vuelta (2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018) and could be the first rider to win the green jersey five times (currently level with Sean Kelly and Laurent Jalabert).

- Primoz Roglic will make his Vuelta debut after achieving his first Grand Tour podium in Giro d'Italia 2019 (3rd). He has won at least one stage in each of his first four Grand Tours (three in Giro and two in the Tour de France).

- Caleb Ewan can become the fourth rider to win a stage at each Grand Tour in a calendar year after Miguel Poblet (1956), Pierino Baffi (1958) and Alessandro Petacchi (2003). He has won at least one stage in four of his five appearances in Grand Tours.

Related items

  • Teenage rider Maas unlikely to walk again after Piccolo Lombardia crash Teenage rider Maas unlikely to walk again after Piccolo Lombardia crash

    Team Sunweb's teenage rider Edo Maas is unlikely to walk again after breaking his back following a collision with a car this month.

    The 19-year-old Dutchman was rushed to hospital in Milan after suffering severe injuries in an accident on the descent of the Madonna del Ghisallo during the Piccolo Lombardia.

    Maas underwent multiple operations this week but has lost the feeling in both of his legs.

    A statement from Maas' family said: "Edo is now fully conscious and has been awake for a couple of days, and responds well to family and visiting team-mates. The fractures to his back and the injuries on his face required multiple intensive surgeries over the last week, all of which were successful.

    "Edo is currently processing the diagnosis that the fracture in his back has led to paraplegia, a loss of nerve feeling in his legs. At this moment it remains unlikely that functionality in his legs will ever return, but fighting power and hope prevails.

    "At this stage no further information on Edo's condition is available. We ask to respect Edo and the family's privacy, as they process this difficult news. Another update will be provided when necessary."

  • Froome: Tour de France route is 'brutal' Froome: Tour de France route is 'brutal'

    Chris Froome has described next year's Tour de France route as "brutal" after organisers revealed details of the race on Tuesday.

    With five mountain ranges and only one time trial - on the penultimate stage - the course would seem to suit climbers such as French riders Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe, as well as Egan Bernal, Froome's Team INEOS colleague and the reigning champion.

    Froome, who missed the 2019 Tour having suffered fractures to his femur, elbow and ribs in June, noted how tough the 21-stage course was for 2020 while admitting it should suit most of the challengers for the yellow jersey.

    "It's a brutal, brutal course, but good," said four-time Tour de France champion Froome.

    "I think it's going to be a really explosive race and very much in favour of the [best climbers of] mountains. But I think that's great, it gives a lot of opportunities for the general classification to be played out.

    "That's what everyone wants to see, everyone wants to see a big battle between the rivals.

    "For the riders as well, I think it's great because it gives a lot of opportunities to try to make the race and to try to win."

    In Froome's absence last year, defending champion Geraint Thomas was expected to be INEOS' lead rider, but it was Bernal who surprisingly emerged to claim a first title.

    The team could have three Tour champions on the line at the Grand Depart in Nice next June, yet Froome is more concerned with focusing on his fitness before considering his leadership credentials.

    "We've got an amazing line-up, an amazing roster of riders to select from, but nothing is decided yet," Froome said.

    "I have obviously to get myself back to that level before even discussing leadership or anything like that.

    "At least for now everything is going in the right direction, I'm optimistic."

  • Mountains dominate 2020 Tour de France route Mountains dominate 2020 Tour de France route

    Cycling's top climbers appeared to receive a major lift after a mountainous route for the 2020 Tour de France was revealed on Tuesday.

    Riders will be go through the five mountain ranges of the Alps, Pyrenees, Vosges, Jura and Massif Central after the Grand Depart in Nice on June 27.

    They will visit three of France's mountain ranges in the first eight days and will be climbing from as early as day two, with the only time trial coming on the last competitive stage from Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles before the ceremonial ride into Paris.

    There will be no return to the Alpe d'Huez or Mont Ventoux, but the Col de la Madeleine and the Grand Colombier will be tackled.

    The route should suit Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe when they attempt to end a long wait for a French rider to win the most prestigious Grand Tour race, which was won by Egan Bernal this year.

    Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said: "There are 29 mountains, it will be physically challenging throughout.

    "Even the so-called flat stages will be very tough for the pure sprinters. There are traps everywhere along the route."

     

    Route for the 2020 Tour de France

    June 27 - Stage 1: Nice - Nice (156km)

    June 28 - Stage 2: Nice - Nice (187km)

    June 29 - Stage 3: Nice - Sisteron (198km)

    June 30 - Stage 4: Sisteron - Orcieres-Merlette (157km)

    July 1 - Stage 5: Gap - Privas (183km)

    July 2 - Stage 6: Le Teil - Mont Aigoual (191km)

    July 3 - Stage 7: Millau - Lavaur (168km)

    July 4 - Stage 8: Cazeres-sur-Garonne - Loudenvielle (140km)

    July 5 - Stage 9: Pau - Laruns (154km)

    July 6 - Rest day in Charente-Maritime

    July 7 - Stage 10: Ile d'Oleron - Ile de Re (170km)

    July 8 - Stage 11: Chatelaillon-Plage - Poitiers (167km)

    July 9 - Stage 12: Chauvigny - Sarran (218km)

    July 10 - Stage 13: Chatel-Guyon - Puy Mary (191km)

    July 11 - Stage 14: Clermont-Ferrand - Lyon (197km)

    July 12 - Stage 15: Lyon - Grand Colombier (175km)

    July 13 - Rest day in Isere

    July 14 - Stage 16: La Tour-du-Pin - Villard-de-Lans (164km)

    July 15 - Stage 17: Grenoble - Meribel (168km)

    July 16 - Stage 18: Meribel - La Roche-sur-Foron (168km)

    July 17 - Stage 19: Bourg-en-Bresse - Champagnole (160km)

    July 18 - Stage 20: Lure - La Planche des Belles Filles (36km individual time trial)

    July 19 - Stage 21: Mantes-la-Jolie - Paris (122km)

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.