Ineos Grenadiers have revealed their seven-man line-up for the upcoming Volta a Catalunya, and it looks like one of the strongest teams they could possibly have picked.
While there are only two Grand Tour winners amongst them – 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas and 2019 Giro d’Italia winner Richard Carapaz – the entire team looks like one that could take to the start-line of the Tour.
Carapaz is potentially the team’s designated leader, though Thomas, Adam Yates, or Richie Porte could all be challengers for the overall title in their own right. Carapaz makes his season debut at the Spanish race so his current form is yet unknown, while Thomas has completed three stage races already this year and looked to be improving during Tirreno-Adriatico last week. Adam Yates meanwhile flew out of the blocks on his Ineos Grenadiers debut, taking a second-place overall in the UAE Tour in February behind Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates). Porte has had a more difficult start to the season however, crashing out of Paris-Nice on stage one. The Australian is likely to be on domestique duties in Catalunya, having switched to the team in 2021 openly stating he will fill a role as a support rider in the mountains.
Joining that quartet of high-class stage racers is the two-time world time trial champion Rohan Dennis, five-time Spanish time trial champion Jonathan Castroviejo, and the team’s leading road captain Luke Rowe.
If the British team are to take their first overall title of the 2021 season they’ll have to beat some stiff competition. Adam Yates’ brother Simon continues his mission towards the Giro d’Italia as he leads Team BikeExchange, while Ineos’s former Grand Tour star Chris Froome will carry the mantle for Israel Start-Up Nation.
Elsewhere, former winner Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) will be on the startline, as will other potential winners Jai Hindley (DSM), João Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Hugh Carthy (EF Education-Nippo), and Wilco Kelderman (Bora-Hansgrohe), among others.
Jumbo-Visma also bring a formidable line-up to the race, with three potential winners in George Bennett, Steven Kruijswijk, and Sepp Kuss alongside a strong support team.
The race, defined by its plethora of climbing stages, kicks off in the mountains on the opening stage with three mountains over 178.4km. From there the GC riders will be continually tested, with an 18.5km time trial on stage two before two back-to-back summit finishes on stages three and four. The final big mountain stage comes on stage five before a flatter day on stage six. The race will conclude with its usual race around the hilly circuit on the streets of the Catalonian capital, Barcelona.
Ineos Grenadiers line-up for Volta a Catalunya 2021