While there may not be any British Grand Tour winners racing the 2019 Vuelta a España, there are still some talented riders flying the flag at this year’s race.
With Team Ineos leader Chris Froome still out injured and his team-mate Geraint Thomas skipping the race in favour of the Deutschland Tour.
Reigning champion Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) has opted to skip the race in favour of rest, having already ridden both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, his brother Adam also absent.
But here are the five Brits riding to watch in the Spanish Grand Tour:
Tao Geoghegan Hart
Hackney-born pro Tao Geoghegan Hart has already broken through this season, taking his first two wins at the Tour of the Alps and finishing second overall there to his Ineos team-mate Pavel Sivakov.
Hart then went into the Giro d’Italia as joint leader with Sivakov.
His second Grand Tour may have ended in disappointment when he crashed out on stage 13, but the 24-year-old is returning to three-week racing with extra motivation at the Vuelta.
Hart has been given a second shot at GT leadership alongside experienced Dutchman Wout Poels, which will make this race a key learning opportunity for the third-year pro and hopefully he’ll get a straight shot to strive for a strong finish overall.
Another breakthrough rider for 2019, James Knox will also be returning to a Grand Tour after injury took him out of the Giro d’Italia.
Knox, 23, was caught in crashes on stages three and four in Italy and battled through for eight stages before his knee injury finally forced him out before stage 13.
The Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider is riding only his second season at WorldTour level but has rapidly proved himself as a talented climber and emerging general classification rider.
Knox has finished in the top-10 of three stage races this season and has been closing in on stage victory.
The Cumbrian is expected to be given free-reign to fight for stages in the mountains of the Vuelta and should have the opportunity to try for a strong position on general classification.
Preston racer Hugh Carthy had more luck during his lap of Italy earlier this year.
The 25-year-old briefly led the youth classification and consistently finished in the top-10 on hilly stages.
By the time the race had reached Verona, Carthy had quietly climbed his way to 11th overall, enough for third in the youth classification.
The EF Education First rider is likely to play more of a support role at the Vuelta as the American outfit take a strong team to support Rigoberto Uran, but after his glowing performance in the Giro, expect to see some memorable performances from Carthy.
So far 2019 has been a mixed season for Welshman Owain Doull.
He took his first pro win early in the season on stage three of the Herald Sun Tour, and then followed up with a formidable second-place finish at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
The season has been relatively quiet since for the 26-year-old, but is expected to liven up now as he starts his first ever Grand Tour in Spain.
Doull, a Olympic gold medallist on the track, has a strong time trial pedigree and has been honing his skills in the spring Classics, so will be a valuable asset to Team Ineos on the rare flat sections of the Vuelta – worth watching to see how he steps up.
Once a familiar face at the head of the Team Sky train in Grand Tours, workhorse Ian Stannard has been out in the wilderness when it comes to three-week races in recent seasons.
But the 32-year-old will be lining up at the Vuelta, his first time in a GT since the 2017 Vuelta.
Stannard has been looking strong since the end of last season, when he won a brutal stage of the Tour of Britain, and this year finishing second in the British National Championships.
While Stannard is not a rider you will see at the sharp end of races, his experience and engine will be invaluable to his team as he leads the peloton on the flats.
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