The organiser of the Vuelta a España has expressed his confidence that Primoż Roglič will defend his crown against a star-studded field.
Kicking off on August 14 in Burgos's Cathedral, the Spanish Grand Tour often boasts an A-list line-up with riders desperate to salvage disappointing seasons, and others having identified the race as their season objective since the start.
Following his crash at the Tour de France which ultimately led to his abandonment five days later, Roglič is currently recovering at home and is expected to try and win the Vuelta for a third successive year.
Javier Guillén, director of the race, said: "I am optimistic and the early retirement of Roglič in the Tour can open the door of possibility to his presence in our race."
While there is no official word from Jumbo-Visma yet, the team's original plan at the start of the season was to attack the Vuelta with Sepp Kuss as the team's leader.
But following a disappointing Giro d'Italia from New Zealander George Bennett, and Roglič's injury-affected showing at the Tour, the Dutch team are looking for ways to rescue their Grand Tour season.
They do have, however, a realistic chance of the podium at the Tour with little-known Jonas Vingegaard currently in third-place after 12 stages.
Should Roglič race in Spain, he will come up against his fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogačar, the reigning Tour de France champion and current leader of the race.
His team manager Joxean Fernández Matxin confirmed earlier this week that the plan is for the 22-year-old to ride the Vuelta after the Tour.
Guillén admitted that while "we have to wait to see how the Tour finishes, I am also moderately optimistic" that Pogačar will race the Vuelta for the first time since his debut in 2019 when he won three stages and finished third aged just 20.
Adding to the exciting potential line-up, that also is expected to include Chris Froome, Rigoberto Urán, Mikel Landa and Romain Bardet, it looks possible that Ineos Grenadiers will boast two GC leaders.
Adam Yates, who was terrific in the early season one-week stage races and won the Volta a Catalunya, has been targeting the Vuelta since last winter.
It is possible that he will share leadership duties with Egan Bernal, the winner of May's Giro d'Italia who is hoping to win the Vuelta to take a clean sweep of Grand Tours.
"Egan Bernal has already said it clear that the Vuelta a España is one of his season goals," Guillén added.
The race, back in its late summer slot after taking place in October and November last year, starts on August 14 and ends on September 5. In a change to tradition, the final stage has been moved from Madrid to Santiago on the country's north-west coast
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