The final Grand Tour of the season is upon us, with the Vuelta a España due to start on Saturday August 24 with a team time trial in Torrevieja.
The general classification is jam-packed with climbing talent, featuring riders who have had varying levels of success so far in 2019.
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Nairo Quintana and world champion Alejandro Valverde take to the start for Movistar, while Astana and Jumbo-Visma both bring super strong squads with them as they seek the overall victory.
Astana boast Miguel Ángel López and Jakob Fuglsang, the Dane returning to racing after crashing out at the Tour de France.
Meanwhile, Jumbo-Visma take Primož Roglič and Steven Kruijswijk, with George Bennett and Robert Gesink supporting as mountain domestiques.
It’s tough to pick a winner, especially at this stage of the season, so who better to rely on in our time of need than our benevolent bookmaker overlords.
Here’s who is going to win the Vuelta a España, according to the bookies.
Primož Roglič is the favourite, with odds of 9/4 to go better than his effort at the Giro d’Italia, which he led for five days, eventually finishing third on the podium.
Jumbo-Visma will be looking for a strong performance in the opening team time trial to put one of their riders in the leader’s jersey early, just as they did at the Tour de France, when they consolidated Mike Teunissen’s opening sprint victory with a dominant team performance against the clock.
Miguel Ángel López is second favourite, valued at 3/1 to win the Spanish Grand Tour after finishing third on the podium in last year’s race behind Enric Mas (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).
Steven Kruijswijk finally finished on a Grand Tour podium at this year’s Tour de France, coming third behind the Ineos duo of Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas. Unlike them, the Dutchman is set to ride the Vuelta, where he finished fourth last year, 50 seconds behind López. Kruijswijk will be ready to help Roglič in the mountains or take over should the Slovenian falter and see how fresh his legs are after three weeks of demanding racing in France. He’s 9/1 to win the Spanish race.
The Movistar pair of Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde are next up, valued at 16/1 and 18/1 respectively. The duo both secured top 10 finishes at the recent Tour de France, with Mikel Landa also finishing sixth. Alongside Carapaz, Movistar once again take three riders capable of winning the race to a Grand Tour. With Quintana off to Arkéa-Samsic and Landa transferring to Bahrain-Merida, this could be the last time we see the now iconic Movistar trident, they will be hoping it pays off this time to finally prove their doubters wrong.
Tao Geoghegan Hart is Ineos’ best chance at victory, according to the bookies. He’s been given odds of 22/1 to follow up the British squad’s Tour de France victory with a win in Spain. The Brit has been key in helping team-mate Pavel Sivakov secure stage race victories at the Tour of the Alps, where Geoghegan Hart finished second, and the Tour of Poland, where Ineos pounced to snatch the win on the final stage.
Ineos are likely to arrive in Spain without any of their big hitters, giving Geoghegan Hart a chance to shine before next season, which will see the British squad packed to the rafters with talent such as Chris Froome, Bernal, Thomas and Carapaz, all of whom are Grand Tour winners.
Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott) took an emotional victory at the Giro d’Italia on stage 19 and will be looking for more glory following his return from injury at the Vuelta. He’s valued at 25/1 to wrap the whole race up and become the third South American to win a Grand Tour this year.
Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished sixth in a strong showing at this year’s Giro d’Italia, coming back from disappointing Grand Tour performances in 2018 where he finished outside the top 10 at the Tour de France and Vuelta. He’s valued at 27/1 to win his first ever Grand Tour at this year’s Spanish Grand Tour.
Another Eastern European, Tadej Pogačar, closes out our top 10 of favourites. The UAE Team Emirates has had somewhat of a breakthrough season in 2019, winning the Tour of California and picking up the young rider classification at the Tour of the Basque Country and his home Tour of Slovenia. The 20-year-old is 28/1 to better Egan Bernal as the youngest Grand Tour winner of 2019.
Vuelta a España 2019 odds (Winner – Oddschecker)
Primož Roglič (Slo) Jumbo Visma – 9/4
Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana – 3/1
Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma – 9/1
Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar – 16/1
Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar – 18/1
Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Ineos – 22/1
Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott – 25/1
Rafał Majka (Pol) Bora-Hansgrohe – 27/1
Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates – 28/1
All odds correction at time of publication