Nine riders representing six countries will make up our squad for the three-week race which will take place between 19 August and 10 September.
A plethora of summit finishes, nine more precisely, through the mountains of Andalucia, Cantabria and Asturias, will be the salt and pepper of the 72nd Vuelta a España, which is set to start from France, making it just the third time in history that the race will kick off from a foreign country, after 1997 (Portugal) and 2009 (Netherlands). Calar Alto, La Pandera, Sierra Nevada and Angliru will be just some of the race’s main difficulties, which should shape up the overall rankings, together with the opening team time trial and the 40.8km-long stage against the clock scheduled on the final week.
Only Spaniard to wear the coveted red jersey at the previous edition of the Vuelta a España, David De La Cruz will return to his home race this year as part of a very strong Quick-Step Floors squad ready to take on the season’s final Grand Tour and stick to its aggressive and spectacular style of racing, which earned plaudits and netted over 40 victories since January. The 28-year-old, a stage winner in 2017 at Paris-Nice and Vuelta al Pais Vasco, will be motivated to show his prowess on the mountains and leave again his mark on the general classification.
Winner of back-to-back white jerseys in the Giro d’Italia, Bob Jungels is slated to start the grueling Spanish race three years after making his Grand Tour debut here and notching up two stage top-10 finishes; if the 24-year-old Luxembourger will ride his second three-week race of the season, the same can’t be said about Julian Alaphilippe, who gets to ride his first Grand Tour this year, after a knee injury kept him out of the Tour de France.
The team will be rounded out by Eros Capecchi, Tim Declercq, Belgian ITT Champion Yves Lampaert, neo-pro Enric Mas (confidence-buoyed after climbing to second overall at the Vuelta a Burgos earlier this month), Matteo Trentin and Niki Terpstra, the most experienced rider of the Vuelta a España roster in terms of Grand Tour participations, with 11 presences under his belt.
“Vuelta will be again a tough race, with many brutal climb and steep gradients, some kicking out at 25%. Will be grueling even for the best climbers, and the extreme temperatures will make everything even more difficult and test the riders throughout these three weeks”, said sport director Geert Van Bondt.
“We hope to do a good race and be up there when it comes to both stage wins and the general classification. David De La Cruz will set his sights on a good result in the overall standings, and after finishing in the top 10 last year, we believe he can be again among the protagonists, but we will take it one stage at a time and see how the race progresses. If you look at the average age of our team, you can see it’s very young but nonetheless it is a complete team, with several experienced riders, capable of winning in almost every terrain, so we’re heading to the start in Nîmes with confidence and optimism”, Van Bondt concluded.