By Stephen Puddicombe published
Ag2r La Mondiale 2 / 10
A wretched start saw Alexandre Geniez and Mathias Frank abandon on the opening stage, followed by Axel Domont the day after, leaving the team down to five riders just two days into the race. Those who remained fought dutifully to frequent the breaks, and young prodigy Clément Champoussin impressed sporadically on his debut Grand Tour, but the team were mostly anonymous.
Astana 6 / 10
Any hope of a bid for overall victory fell apart on the very first day, when the team’s two young hopefuls Alexander Vlasov and Alex Aranburu both lost significant time. Vlasov nevertheless improved as the race went on, finishing second on the Angliru and eventually climbing to eleventh overall, but the team’s biggest success came from a breakaway on stage six, when the Izagirre brothers teamed up with Ion taking victory.
Bahrain-McLaren 5 / 10
After losing time on both the opening two stages in the Basque Country, Wout Poels slowly but surely climbed up the rankings, eventually reaching sixth by the end of the second week and remaining there until Madrid. Generally, though, the team’s papaya jerseys weren’t seen much — which might not have been the case if the exciting Matej Mohorič hadn’t broken his shoulder in the first week.
Bora-Hansgrohe 8 / 10
Felix Großschartner was the stealthiest of the GC riders, remaining in the top ten for the whole race to eventually finish ninth despite barely being noticed at all, save for his sprint for second on the stage to Suances. But the team’s real success came in the sprints, where Pascal Ackermann improved as the race went on to claim two stage victories.
Burgos-BH 5 / 10
There was to be no repeat of last year’s success for Burgos-BH, when Ángel Madrazo won a stage and spent most of the race as leader of the Mountains Classification. It was not for want of trying, however, as the wildcard team placed a rider in most of the breakaways that got up the road throughout the race.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA 5 / 10
Like Burgos-BH, Caja Rural could be relied upon to get into the breakaways, with six of their eighth riders getting into one on at least one occasion during the race. Ironically, though, the closest they came to victory was in a sprint, when Jon Aberasturi came seventh on stage nine.
CCC Team 3 / 10
Riding their final race before Circus-Wanty Gobert take over their World Tour licence, it was easy to forget CCC were even in the race given their anonymity, until 24-year-old Will Barta came an agonising single second away from a shock win in the time trial. Aside from that near-miss, Jakub Mareczko produced a couple of good sprints, registering a third and fifth place finish before abandoning in the second week.
Cofidis 6 / 10
It would have been easy for Guillaume Martin to have thrown in the towel after losing over eight minutes from being caught out in crosswinds on stage two, especially considering how hard he rode at the Tour de France a few weeks beforehand. But instead he spearheaded Cofidis race, attacking constantly to earn a string of top ten finishes, and winning the King of the Mountains classification.
Deceuninck - Quick-Step 6 / 10
The usually prolific Deceuninck - Quick-Step were unable to build upon Sam Bennett’s win on stage four, with the Irishman missing out to Ackermann in the later sprints, and multiple breakaway attempts — mostly from Reémi Cavagna, who was awarded the super-combativity prize for his tireless efforts —all coming to naught. A single stage win is the team’s lowest tally in their last five Grand Tour appearances.
EF Pro Cycling 9 / 10
It’s easy to forget after what Hugh Carthy went on to do, but EF’s Vuelta got off to a terrible start when both of their expected GC leaders Daniel Martínez and Michael Woods crashed out of overall contention on stage one. As the team’s new leader by default, Carthy flourished, finishing on the podium and memorably winning atop the legendary Alto de l’Angliru. If that wasn’t enough, Woods and Magnus Cort also won a stage each.
Groupama-FDJ 8 / 10
With Thibaut Pinot not fully recovered from the injuries sustained at the Tour de France, the onus was on David Gaudu to perform, and the 24-year-old rose to the occasion with aplomb. He followed victory atop La Farrapona on stage eleven with a second victory on another of the race’s most prestigious summit finishes, La Covatilla, a ride that also saw him catapult up to eighth overall on GC.
Ineos Grenadiers 7 / 10
Past success and high expectations mean that even second overall feels like something of a disappointment for Ineos Grenadiers. Richard Carapaz exchanged the red jersey with Primož Roglič on several occasions during the race, but fell 24 seconds short of winning it with his final attack on La Covatilla. He could have done with more support in the mountains from an uncharacteristically fragile Ineos team.
Israel Start-Up Nation 8 / 10
Dan Martin’s victory at La Laguna Negra on stage three alone would have been enough to make Israel Start-Up Nation’s race a success. But the Irishman wasn’t done yet, and continued to fight for a GC place, only falling out of the top three after the Angliru stage, and holding on for a career-best fourth-place finish.
Jumbo-Visma 10 / 10
Featuring almost exactly the same-line up as at the Tour de France, Jumbo-Visma were as dominant a force here as they were there, with one crucial difference — this time, Roglič was able to finish off the good work with overall victory.
The Slovenian was prolific throughout the race, winning mountain top finishes, time trials and even a sprint to collect a halt of four stage wins; and he managed to overcome several difficult moments, like being caught out in the cold on stage six and being dropped on both the Angliru and Covatallia, thanks to his sturdy resolve as well as some brilliant teamwork, with Sepp Kuss again being his most selfless and reliable lieutenant.
Lotto-Soudal 7 / 10
Tim Wellens made his intentions clear from the very start of the race by getting into breakaway on both the first two stages, and his persistent efforts were richly rewarded with two stage wins. His bid for the Mountains Classification was always unlikely against a pure climber like Guillaume Martin, but spirited nonetheless, while second place on stage nine indicates that 22-year-old Gerben Thijssen might be a future star in the sprints.
Mitchelton-Scott 2 / 10
A promising start for Esteban Chaves fizzled out in the second week when he was dropped out of contention in Cantabrian Mountains, after which Mitchelton-Scott switched their strategy towards chasing stage wins. In that they were unsuccessful, coming closest on stage sixteen when Robert Stannard was the penultimate survivor from the day’s break, and Dion Smith finished third in the subsequent sprint in Ciudad Rodrigo.
Movistar 6 / 10
This was an archetypical performance from Movistar that summed up everything about the team over the last few years, both good and bad. They asserted themselves on the race like a team that expected to compete for overall victory without ever really threatening to do so, with Enric Mas finishing the highest of their three-pronged attack in fifth overall. One of Marc Soler’s many attacks resulted in a stage win, and it goes without mentioning that they again won the Team Classification.
NTT Pro Cycling 3 / 10
Racing under a cloud of doubt as the team continued to search for a sponsor for next season, NTT failed to make much of an impression on the road. A new talent was unearthed in sophomore pro Gino Mader, however, who starred in the final week to finish second on La Covatilla, having threatened to win a couple of days earlier with a late attack.
Sunweb 5 / 10
If most of Sunweb’s youthful roster were unfamiliar going into the race, they’ve certainly made a name for themselves now. 23-year-old Michael Storer and 20-year-old Thymen Arensman were both regular presences in the breakaways, with each claiming a third-place finish; 21-year-old Mark Donavan looks like he might be the next star of British cycling; and 23-year-old Max Kanter impressed in the sprints where he twice placed third.
Total Direct Energie 4 / 10
Wildcard teams usually try to draw attention to themselves by getting into breakaways, but Total Direct-Energie's main moments in the spotlight came in opposite circumstances, as the team directors appeared to dish out some old-school punishments by seemingly instructing them to ride at the front of the peloton whenever they failed to get a rider in the break. Their best result also came in a sprint, with Julien Simon placing sixth on stage ten.
Trek-Segafredo 1 / 10
The team didn’t seem to have much of a coherent plan regarding what they wanted to achieve at the race, and it drifted by without them making an impact. Their one notable performer was Kenny Elissonde, who looked in good form when he attacked on stage three’s summit finish at Laguna Negra, but the team lost any sense of direction when he abandoned after stage seven.
UAE Team Emirates 7 / 10
Seventh overall for David de la Cruz might not be anywhere near as headline-grabbing as Tadej Pogačar’s yellow jersey win for the team at the Tour de France, but the team can be proud of how they achieved it, which involved an ambitious attack on the penultimate stage involving several of their domestiques attacking from the beginning. Their biggest success came in the sprints, though, in which Jasper Philipsen won stage fifteen and was a consistent presence throughout.
Stephen Puddicombe is a freelance journalist for Cycling Weekly, who regularly contributes to our World Tour racing coverage with race reports, news stories, interviews and features. Outside of cycling, he also enjoys writing about film and TV - but you won't find much of that content embedded into his CW articles.
João Almeida hoping for third time lucky at Giro d'Italia as he aims for fewer mistakes
UAE-Team Emirates' new Portugese GC hope talks switching up training, working with Tadej Pogačar and how he can improve
By Adam Becket • Published
Will 2022 be the year Julian Alaphilippe finishes the Tour de France in yellow?
Having enjoyed 14 days in yellow in 2019, and held the jersey every subsequent year, could the French rider roll into Paris the leader?
By Jonny Long • Published