Enric Mas has said that the 2022 Vuelta a España will likely be shaped around the mid-race individual time trial.
The time trial has definitely played a defining role in the last three editions of the race, with Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) performing exceptionally well in all of them, either taking the race lead or extending it.
Movistar's leader Mas believes that the only individual time trial included in the 2022 race will have a similar impact on the general classification.
Speaking to CyclingNews after the presentation, Mas said: "The teams will have to control the race very differently to this year (2021), because the gaps between the riders in the TT will shape how the big names race for the rest of the Vuelta. If somebody gets a minute’s advantage in the TT, say, that’ll change how everybody else races."
This isn't the only time trial though, the first stage of the race around the Dutch city of Utrecht also sees riders tested against the clock, but in the format of a team time trial - a discipline we've seen become less prevalent in recent years.
Mas has other goals before the Vuelta. He is set to lead his team at the Tour de France before likely heading to the three-week race in his home nation of Spain.
Mas had an excellent double of the Tour and Vuelta in 2021 with the Mallorcan managing sixth overall in the Tour and then a very strong second in the Vuelta, where he did test Roglič but eventually faded to being almost five minutes behind the Slovenian superstar.
"If it’s gone well, then I’ll be looking for more," he added.
“I have the same intentions overall in the Tour and Vuelta as I had in 2021. Hopefully next year I’ll go in feeling stronger, thanks to how I did this season."
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