In what has been an eventful year for sports and cycling, the end of the tunnel is almost here with the last big event of the UCI World Tour, La Vuelta a España.
With the Giro d’Italia already complete, and Podacar claiming an unexpected victory at the Tour de France, it is anyone’s guess at this point on how the season will end. In a turn around from the Tour de France, which had fans edging their seat and online bookmakers scrambling to keep up with their predictions as the streams rolled, and saw Tadej Podacar of UAE TEAM EMIRATES become one of the youngest champions ever of the grand boucle, La Vuelta will keep its mysteries while the cycling world focuses on the Giro d’Italia for the time being. Podacar came out of the blue, and while the online bookmakers do not expect him to make any splash going forward, it is a season to expect the unexpected in cycling. Who would have thought we’d have a virtually dope-free season in cycling?
While the Giro twists and turns with Nibali, Fuglsang, and Kelderman amongst the favorites, we steer our focus to La Vuelta and how it could shape up. Early tips from the online bookmakers and predictions go to this season’s UCI World ranking leader, Primoz Roglic. At age 31, the Slovenian is having his most visible and brilliant season yet, spearheading the Jumbo-Visma team. Dutchman, Tom Dumoulin is the second favorite, while Alejandro Valverde and Thibaut Pinot are distant considerations but in the mix nonetheless. Hampered by the coronavirus, the circus around cycling events has been tempered down, as the roadside cheer from fans is not at its fever pitch best, but it has been a hard-fought season, with new names popping and domination up for grabs.
The first stage of La Vuelta kicked off on the 20th of October, barely a week removed from the Giro, as the season looks to close on a high note. The last big road cycling event on the elite calendar will run through to November, and should no doubt pack more the exciting unknown for fans to delight in.
Photo © BORA – hansgrohe / Bettiniphoto