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AG2R La Mondiale 8 / 10

Tony Gallopin wins stage seven of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Two stage wins exceeded expectations from a team that not much was expected much at the Vuelta. Alexandre Geniez road cannily to win from a breakaway in Galicia, while Tony Gallopin achieved the rare feat of a successful late attack on an expected bunch finish, while also coming very close to what would have been a career-first Grand Tour top-10.

Astana 8 / 10

Miguel Angel Lopez at the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Miguel Angel Lopez may have been frustrated by his three summit finish runner-up placings, but in the grand scheme of things his race was a rounding success, with a place on the podium secured on stage 20. Astana worked particularly well as a team that day, with Dario Cataldo and Omar Fraile helping to set up the Colombian’s decisive attack.

Bahrain-Merida 3 / 10

Ion izagirre at the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

The team’s race was always likely to hinge upon what shape Vincenzo Nibali entered the race in, and alas the Italian was well short of his best, dropping out of GC contention in the very first few days and, despite many attempts, never getting anywhere near winning a stage. No other rider managed a win either, but Ion Izagirre road a decent GC to finish ninth overall.

BMC Racing 8 / 10

Rohan Dennis on stage one of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Given the stage-winning success of Alessandro de Marchi in Galicia and Rohan Dennis in the two time trials, it’s easier to forget the team’s ‘Plan A’ was scuppered right at the start of the race when GC hopeful Richie Porte was struck with illness. Three stage wins is some haul though, and it could have been even more had Dylan Teuns a little more luck – overall, this was a fitting Grand Tour swansong for the team.

Bora-Hansgrohe 4 / 10

Peter Sagan at the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Given all the talent in their line-up, Bora’s Vuelta was relatively disappointing. Star rider Peter Sagan grew into the race, but was outclassed by Elia Viviani (Quick-Step) in the sprints, and also had to settle for second place to Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in the points classification. Rafal Majka endured similar frustrations in the mountain stages, while Emanuel Buchman’s GC bid faded into a 12th overall.

Burgos-BH 5 / 10

Jetse Bol on stage 13 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

The wildcard invitees dutifully frequented many hopeless breakaways, but might feel aggrieved at their limited returns considering the success of other small teams in the race. Their best chance came on stage 18, when Jetse Bol came within a few kilometres of contesting for a stage win before being dropped by his two breakaway companions.

Caja Rural 5 / 10

Lluis Guillermo Mas on stage 12 of the Vuelta a España 2018 (Sunada)

As usual, Caja Rural’s green jerseys were a familiar sight in the breakaways, but it was in a sprint that they registered their one notable result. 24-year-old Nelson Soto managed fourth on stage 10, with an attention-grabbing acceleration that suggests he’ll be one to watch in the future.

Cofidis 9 /10

Jesus Herrada on stage 13 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

For a pro-continental outfit like Cofidis, it doesn’t get much better than this. First Luis Angel Mate became the race’s first leader in the mountains classification, a lead he would defend for over two weeks; then Nacer Bouhanni won a stage, the team’s first at Grand Tour level for a decade; and, better still, the team enjoyed a couple of days in the race lead thanks to Jesus Herrada.

Dimension Data 8 / 10

Ben King wins stage four of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

For a team that has laboured so fruitlessly for success in recent years, Ben King’s triumphant double-stage haul on the race’s first two summit finishes was a godsend. The team was almost anonymous for the rest of the race, but that hardly matters in the context of King’s heroics.

EF Education First-Drapac 8 / 10

Michael Woods on stage 17 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Yet another underdog to have a blinder, EF Education First-Drapac picked up two stage wins – the first in an opening week breakaway through Simon Clarke, then an emotional triumph for Michael Woods in the Basque Country, who dedicated the result to his stillborn child. Rigoberto Uran also managed a reasonable seventh overall.

Euskadi-Murias 7 /10

Oscar Rodriguez wins stage 13 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

The race’s smallest team pulled off one of arguably its most spectacular stage win, as the little-known 23-year old Oscar Rodriguez stunned his more experienced rivals to win atop La Camperona on stage 13. Rodriguez is likely to move on to a bigger team after such an astonishing performance, but Euskadi-Murias will be forever grateful for what is easily the highest profile result in their history.

Groupama-FDJ 9 /10

Thibaut Pinot wins on Lagos de Covadonga at the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Halfway through the Vuelta, following Rudy Molard’s four-day spell in the red jersey, Groupama-FDJ were probably already quite content with their lot. But things got even better for the French team when Thibaut Pinot turned on the style in the mountains, winning on Lagos de Covadonga and Coll de la Rabassa, two of the race’s fiercest climbs.

Katusha-Alpecin 2 / 10

Jhonathan Restrepo on stage 11 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

It was yet another poor showing at a Grand Tour from Katusha-Alpecin following their flops at the Giro and Tour earlier in the year. Ilnur Zakarin was aggressive but never looked like either challenging GC or winning a stage, and their only result of note was a distant second place for Jhonatan Restrepo behind Alessandro De Marchi (BMC Racing) on stage 11.

LottoNL-Jumbo 6 / 10

Steven Kruijswijk on stage 14 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Despite being one of the strongest teams in the mountains, LottoNL-Jumbo couldn’t quite propel Steven Kruijswijk to a podium place, with the Dutchman having to settle for second place. There was to be no stage win for the team either, despite some Danny van Poppel near misses in the sprints.

Lotto-Soudal 6 / 10

Thomas De Gendt on stage 17 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Although there was to be no repeat of their extraordinary four-stage win haul at last year’s race, Lotto-Soudal’s aggressive approach again bore much fruit. Thomas De Gendt’s constant attacking on the climbs saw him crowned king of the mountains, and Jelle Wallays claimed an unlikely stage win from the breakaway on a pan-flat stage 18.

Mitchelton-Scott 10 / 10

Simon Yates reaches the finish on stage 20 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Three years since landing their first high GC placing via Esteban Chaves’ fifth at the Vuelta, Mitchelton-Scott completed their transition into Grand Tour heavyweights with their first ever overall victory. There’s was a measured and assured performance, and Simon Yates could always rely on support from the likes of Jack Haig and, of course, his brother Adam.

Movistar 6 / 10

Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde at the 2018 Vuelta a España stage 20 (Sunada)

A race that delivered so much success early on, with Alejandro Valverde sprinting to two opening week stage wins, and that had seemed poised for so much more, with Valverde and Nairo Quintana so well positioned going into the final week, ultimately petered out at the very end with both riders slipping down the GC. Victory in the points and team classifications were a consolation prize.

Quick-Step Floors 10 / 10

Elia Viviani wins stage 18 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Yet again Quick-Step Floors were the dominant force in the bunch sprints, managing to win three stages with Elia Viviani despite limited opportunities. And this was an even more triumphant Grand Tour than usual for the Belgian team, thanks to the revelation of 23-year old prodigy Enric Mas, who sealed second overall with a fantastic win on the race’s Pyrenean queen stage.

Sky 4 / 10

Michal Kwiatkowski on stage four of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

During the first few days of the race, with Michal Kwiatkowski, we did wonder whether it would be business as usual for Sky despite the absence of their major stars. But Kwiatkowski isn’t the accomplished GC rider that Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas are, and faded in the mountains, while the team as a whole failed to land a stage win.

Sunweb 3 /10

Wilco Kelderman on stage 17 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

Despite showing good form early on, Wilco Kelderman couldn’t reach the same level that saw him finish fourth overall last year, and had to settle for 10th overall. Aside from his steady bid for GC, the team were largely inactive, with no stage wins, memorable attacks or spells in leaders jerseys to show for.

Trek-Segafredo 3 / 10

Bauke Mollema at the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

This was a Vuelta of near misses for Trek-Segafredo. Bauke Mollema was recognised as the race’s most aggressive rider for his constant attacks, but fell just short of winning both a stage and the mountains classification, while Giacomo Nizzolo persisted in the bunch sprints without success.

UAE Emirates 2 / 10

Fabio Aru on stage 11 of the 2018 Vuelta a España (Sunada)

With Dan Martin departing early to be there for the birth of his twins, and Fabio Aru continuing to look a shadow of the rider who won this race three years ago, this was yet another disappointing race for UAE Emirates.

Their only chance for redemption came when Sven Erik Bystrøm unexpectedly found himself in a two-man sprint for victory on stage 18’s successful breakaway, but the Norwegian was defeated by Jelle Wallays.