Written by The Erwinator from Silenzio
A very interesting Vuelta is coming up this weekend. In this short preview we give an overview of the major contenders for the GC and SC.
Gjermund Lervik (AK Pro Race)
Lervik is 24 years young and THE favorite for the Youth Classification, but also both GC and SC are not out of range: his climbing skills combined with his technical capabilities and his above average time trialing make him a very dangerous contender in each of the stages. AK Pro Race moreover brings a supporting cast of climbers with on average 87cl-66dh-63hl, aged 30 yo.
Steinar Bredesen (Temora Tornadoes)
Although we have no confirmation yet, that top-allrounder Steinar will be in his best form, we expect him to be so. His preparation looks promising. His weakness might be the closing TT, where we expect him to loose 90-120 seconds to the winner. But with many pure time trialists present, one might wonder if the winner of that TT will be dangerous for the GC. Also, his team is not very CL-focused, which might isolate him early in stages 2 and 4 (average teammate: 67cl-70dh-63hl, 29yo). If he wins the GC, probably he is close for SC too.
Victor Mahan (Team Oasis)
Team Oasis is always a contender for the GC in any tour. Victor Mahan might already age a bit, but must be considered one of the best 5 climbers in this tour and might have the best climbing squad at his service, with an average teammate of 89cl-67dh-62hl, 29yo.
Tame Rokocoko (Willunga Hill)
Tame was runner-up last season and is a very dangerous contender. His marvellous technique makes him suited for the less climby stages as well, and also (after Allan Robson) the best timetrialist of the GC-contenders. Nothing wrong with his team either: on average 89cl-58dh-53hl, 30yo
Allan Robson (Alpine)
Probably inspired by former winner Shu Jin, this miracle climbing timetrialist Allan Robson will eye victory in Spain.
We have trouble to see him finish top 10 in the climbstages (2 and 4) and while Shu Jin managed to do well in stage 5 in the past, we also fear that might be hard for the most expensive rider in the history of OCM (1.75M was paid by Alpine last season!). We can see him loose 90-150 seconds to the leader in the GC before stage 6. Will he be able to beat the timetrialists of for instance Andeby and Stroopwafel in stage 6 and seal the victory? His average teammate is a top of the bill 231-climber: 87cl-75dh-69hl, 29yo.
Faraji Ekele (Team WonderDee)
Last season on the podium after a very anonymous tour (once 3rd in the second mountain stage). But thanks to a great TT, he got a very good result in. Will he be able to improve on that? He can reckon on support of an average teammate with 79cl-61dh-58hl, 31yo.
Fragoso Trinta (team dustin)
We don’t see it often: TFs in team dustin. But last time Fragoso had it, he swept Copa Salsa de Cali. Will he be able to limit the damage in stage 1 and will the GC-candidates leave the SC to the sprinters, than he is the favorite for the SC: the best intrinsic sprinter with some ability in the hillstage. The team seems to consist out of a mix of riders that can function either as LOSPs or LO2s.
Sima Ervin (Silenzio)
A not so typical sprinter, but Sima’s ability to overcome a hill and his superior technical handling of the bike, makes him perfectly suited for this tour. With Yoeri Coopmans, there is another rider much like him and Sima never did very well in the past here. Problem for the sprintteams might be to control the race in stage 1 and 5, to catch the break, and to see off the competition from the GC-contenders, if they want to win the SC. Silenzio brings 4 LOSPs and a hillclimber as support.
Yoeri Coopmans (Navarone Cycling Team)
Navarone brings a rider that very much looks like their competition from Silenzio, but is slightly younger. The most important difference is that Yoeri might be able to take some points from the ITT in stage 6. The supporting cast consists of LOSPs-only.