Written by Frank Holwerda of Holwerda Cycling
These are teams listed for the second edition of the Vuelta a Valparaìso, in alphabetical order:
This all French team is bringing a bunch of climbers to this tour. Perhaps they are in for a stage win, but who knows what Hadrien Mallet can do in the GC with a consistent tour and a strong team for the king stage
With six different nationalities and six very different riders, it will be interesting to see what this team is capable of. They seem to lack GC skills, but nonetheless will try to give an unforgettable performance. The first chance is the ITT, where Ignac Bergant can repeat his win from last season.
Jeffrey Napier is a rider to consider for the GC. He has done well in a lot of tours and even got podium places in three big tours: Vuelta de los Castillos, Germany Tour and Norway Tour. His team mates seem to be selected purely for the King stage and that could well be a good choice.
There is an interesting rider in this Belgian team with an evenly interesting name: Chengoth V. Manoharan. This 22 years old Indian rider is a great climber and a nice TT’er as well. But it could well be that Christopher Dobbelaere steals the show in the first stage like he did in the Tour of Norway.
Cycling team FPS
All-in for the ITT. That is what this team is doing. With five, maybe six riders who can go for the win in the opening stage, I will not be surprised when the Leader Jersey will be on the shoulder of a rider in this team after the first stage. After that? Who cares.
If anyone knows where to attack and where to take a shit break, it is the manager of this team. But this being said, we notice a sense of doubt in the words of the manager, not knowing who will be his main GC contender. Is this a sign of weakness, or is it the tactics that will make this Tour even more his own? His choice will be made after the ITT and it will be Alfons van Steensel, Bohdan Krejza or Henk Houtman.
A relatively young team with Yvan Weygaerts as captain. Again a team with good support for the King stage in the mountains. Can Yvan achieve a new GC podium like he once did in Perm Tour? But in his team there is also Ludo Tijs who won the YC of Giro di Montelbano. He is much stronger than Yvan in the TT and can hang on in the mountains pretty well.
Last season’s runner up Gavin
Hanning is on the start list of this tour, but his manager has said that the YC winner will not be the captain and therefore I think he will perhaps not be defending that title. For the GC we have to keep our eyes open for strong climber Chatwin Stiver. And yes, the former winner of tours like Norway Tour, Volta ao Porto and Perm Tour is a bit better than Gavin. And again a team with a very good mountain support.
This team is going for stage success with both Cuello and Kinzl. Both riders will be in optimal form to try and take some good results. And I know the manager denies to say it, but wouldn’t Francesco Joinoe be a nice rider for the GC?
This team is mainly focused on climbing and downhill, so that makes two out of six stages. Combined with a good TT by either Levi Mertens or Roland Perk, there could well be happening something for the GC. But the weakness of the team lies in hills and technique. Will they be able to limit their loss on those difficult stages?
Worst team ever. But they have the YC winner of Cymru Taith and he is well prepared. Jesse De Laat is his name.
There must be an ITT in this tour somewhere, especially when this team is signed up. Will this team win the opening stage? I don’t know. So much strong TT’ers in this field.
Nairobi City Cycling Club
Nathari Engola is on the starting list, but something tells me he will not be captaining the squad. But with Olof Sivertsson they have another strong rider who cannot wait to take the lead in this tour. He does lack the climbing skills, but with good help from his team mates he might pull of a nice GC.
Nobody doubts that the youngster Estevan Moscoso is a talented rider. A nice downhiller with a lot of sidestats and TT-centered so it seems. Does he have a chance for the GC? We will know after the downhill race. But in the same team we also have J?drzej Doma?ski, former winner of Essex Tour and until two seasons ago amongst the best riders in OCM. But now Nobodies and J?drzej Doma?ski are back and we have to watch this team very closely in every stage.
Although the King stage is in the mountains, some team just try to make the best of the more flat and a bit hilly stages. This teams brings a couple of riders that could do very well in those stages and who knows how far Arjasepp can go along in the GC. But I’m afraid the King Stage will destroy any podium ambitions.
The defending champion is here: Alain de Keijsere! And Alain will try to defend his title, but his manager would be happy with a place on the podium as well. And in case De Keijsere fails, they have Curt Stahl standing ready to take over captaincy. In any case, the team looks pretty confident to bring home a good result.
Schiavi di Don
Lamattina has won numerous tours in his career and he could as well win this one. With strong help on the climbs the manager hopes for at least a Top-9 in the GC. And don’t forget to cheer for the guy with the longest name in this tour. I’m not going to write his name here, look for yourself.
If the tour was just one stage long, this team would definitely be one of the favorites for the GC win. But since this is a tour with six stages, the riders will be bored for the next five stages. Enough chances to bribe on of the guys to let him ride for your captain.
Two captains on one ship. That doesn’t always work, but the manager is confident that one of his riders will make into the top 9 of the GC. I know he can, he has done it before. If I had to choose now between Plínio Taveira and Raúl Gonzales I would go for Gonzales.
Last season Alexander Hetland won the Sprint Classification. And with the absence of the big sprinters he could well be in for a double. Does he play a role in the GC? Probably not. The King Stage will be a bridge to far.
Twente Cycling Team
But Hetland will not win the Sprint Classification easily. Casald Liga has been given the order to finish in front of Hetland in every stage. I can see at least one stage where that will happen: in the King stage.
Finally a team that is really targeting the Sprint Classification. Incendio Rincon is in very good shape and could do well in almost every stage taking into account the strong sprinting team around him. In the mountain stage he will be all on his own. But when he has a gap in the SC, he will not need to be up front in the King stage.
I don’t see a real contender for the GC, but with strong TT riders and hill sprinters this could very well be a nice tour for this team. Jelle Zegers is getting a bit old, but being the oldest rider in the tour might give some extra power to the guy.
Wing On Pinarello
Lowell Radcliff for the GC? Why not. He is strong and if the all-Bermudian team rides in full service of their captain it could well work