Written by The Erwinator of Silenzio
Vuelta de los Castillas, a race so easily in the shadow of the great Germany Tour. But only the best of the best are participating edition after edition. The challenging terrains offer opportunities to shine for every sort of rider, climbers with a hilly punch, time trialists, technical sprinters and of course the allrounders who battle each other in the mountains over the GC. Who will claim the throne in the old castle?
With a lot of TT-specialists in the field, it’s unlikely that the GC will be decided by the final stage. One could lose it in the final TT Vinaròs - Castillo de Peñíscola, but certainly not win it. We think that after stage 4, in Morella, when the riders eased the Coll d'Ares, we already quite well know will be the likely winner of this seasons’ edition. Let’s have a quick look at the teams that signed up and what to expect from them!
SC with Michel Pelsers
To be honest, Michel wasn’t that good in Vejle-Kobenhavn and Norwich-London as many expected him to be. He will want to wash away the disappointing results with a jersey in Spain.
AK Pro Race
The Polish team brings a very strong team to support Ulises Cuesta in his questa for top5. The man who lived a couple of years in the Valencia-area when young, will know every little bend and curve in the road. He gets support of last season’s no. 5 Lech Kopec. Isn’t top5 a bit too modest a goal?
GC with Kody Truman
You check out this rider, and you don’t see anything so special. You put him in the hands of snowbear, and he is an absolute star all the sudden. We can’t see why he should not claim the GC for a second time!
GC with Josue Berlanga
Nothing is harder, than to tell who will captain tours for Blisky from their startlists. Despite having some really great riders, no one really stands out. Still, the team is on a good streak, which saw them recently promoted to top division! A top9 could be possible, but who to look after? Our pick: Josue Berlanga
Hills: Carl Wilson
TT: Several riders
A ferocious fight for points in the TT of VdlC against Drollevangers for rank1? Yes, yes, yes! We get to see this epic battle again. Other than that, we expect Carl Wilson to shine in the hilly stage Morella – Morella.
Cycling team FPS
GC with Ciceron Guinassi
Another team with quite an impressive line-up for this tour. Jacob Wieringh, known to be struggling with motivation however, is normally the man to look out for most. But, probably he will be in a serving role for either mister free transfer Ciceron Guinassi or otherwise the more experience Claudio Cacares.
GC with Yaroslav Oplatka
YC with Luba Bernard
Kafka injured is a blow to the team that is renown for their YC-spree in the last couple of seasons. With Kafka out, its likely that Oplatka will get full support in the fight for a decent position in the GC. Surely Michael Danner still knows how
to do that, although his last win Or will Luba Bernard get his chance for the YC? He better still practices a bit on his TT-bike then!
GC with David Engalychev
Maybe one of the most complete riders of the world. And he has been preparing for this tour and this tour only. With a team full of experienced incredible climbers dedicated to his endeavour, we certainly expect him to win at least one stage, but can he bring home the Castellon-crown?
Invisible in most of the stages, Emilio was consistent enough in past edition to claim a spot on the podium. His work isn’t done here, as he will return and looks to improve himself. Quite a challenge!
TT: several riders
SC with Torjus Barstad
Will Drollevangers continue to impress in the rankings in the Vuelta? Their TT-team looks very much up to it and will eagerly help Barstad to a good result in the sprintstage Villamalefa – Castellón.
GC with Lloyd Horan
Bring Lloyd Horan in his best days and form and he would conquer all here. Especially with the lineup DZWF is presenting in Spain. Apparently manager Richard didn’t underline the Vuelta at the start of the season as one of the major goals. Let’s see where these strong climbers will end up!
Equipo Easy On
GC with David Hornbostel
SC with Jeremiah Hurlock
Jeremiah Hurlock wasn’t that pleased when EEO presented their plans for the Vuelta. Probably he will carry a lot of bottles for captain Hornbostel, while having to try finding the wheel of Borges/Upton/Pelsers/Hesler all by himself in the hard sprints that should suit him.
GC with Julian De Ruiter
Probably up to a new attempt for Julian. He was twice second, once fourth and once seventh (when he won the YC in S51). Time to step up and write some real history for the Dutch.
GC with Dmitry Salko
Weren’t we all bored by Dmitri last season in the shirt of Matrix Team, grabbing that 2nd place without trying anything at all to end the Truman-show? Well, he is back. This time he rides in another shirt, but it’s the same freak. Hold on in the mountains, finish off in the TT. Boring!
Navarone Cycling Team
SC with Quinlan Upton
Maybe the best technical sprinting team of the world, so they had to be present here in Spain. Especially the opener should suit the team very well. It’s Upton who is the eyed captain here.
Hills with Emrick Hellenga
Choose your battles, is what pollyjeanharvey must have thought. All-in for the hillstage
GC/YC/SC with Maxwell Reiss
An important tour, so Oli is present of course. Probably all its great riders will be serving young gun Maxwell Reiss. You hate him or you love him. We are still in doubt. Bernard Cowell seems to be upset with the plans of the team for Vuelta. Certainly he expected to get another try and do better than last season (6th after leading a long time in the GC)! Will Maxwell silence the crowd with doing a triple like once, long ago, Wit Feaux, realized the double in Spain?
Yes, everybody is expecting Borges to sweep the sprints, but let’s be honest: the man is getting old. Last season already showed the best of him is for the past. Then again, the best sprinter in the best sprinting team… he just has to win.
SC with Murray Hesler
The advantage Murray has in comparison to the other sprinters, is that he can score in the hilly stage. Still, futerko will have to cut his work out to retain that precious jersey.
GC with Sergei Tereshchenko
Was Sergei Tereshchenko only 8th last season?? We definitely think he has what it takes to bring home glory to Kyrgyzstan and Iran. Or is this just a Fata Morgana for Team Oasis?
GC with Ørjan Nyhus
YC with Bengt Granskog
If you just have too many quality riders, it can be so hard to choose. One of the big problems of Team WonderDee is the internal rivalry. With Bengt looking good for the YC, but Nyhus clearly aiming GC. We feel for Christian to manage all this. Take care!
GC with Steinar Bredesen
Preparations might not be ideal for the allrounder from Norway, but the world champion can win anywhere if he has a bit of luck!
GC with Jerry Tuimavave
TT with Paul Sa'u
The kiwis are bringing their Volta-setup to the Vuelta. The concept is simple, win every stage, but with different riders and see how far that brings you. We feel this two horse-tactic is more desperation than dedication. Good for a top9, but if I were Jerry, I would like to win.
GC/YC with Pascoal Baptista
Always dedicated to get himself in his own lists with stats, Yuri will want to claim that YC-jersey in what is the last chance for Pascoal to grab it. Surely we think he has an excellent chance to do just that.
That’s all folks. Have a good tour!
This preview was made possible thanks to the help of Alexander of Team Chili scraping all riderids, and Yuri of Yuri SuperTeam upgrading the tourtrackersheet!