Next Saturday, the last three-week Grand Tour of the season will depart from Málaga. The 73th edition of the La Vuelta will cover a total distance of 3254,7 kilometres ending in Madrid on 16 September.
The race is set to start with a 8km individual time trial while the riders roll down the ramp at the Centre Pompidou Málaga. As usual for the Spanish race, also this year route presents a lot of climbs with a total of nine mountains top finishes including, for example, the one in La Camperona and the one in Lagos de Covadonga.
General Manager Brent Copeland:”As always, at team Bahrain Merida we go into the grand tours with the best possible team selected. This year Vuelta is a fantastic mix of mountain stages and medium mountain stages, flat stages as well as individual TT, so it has been a challenge to select the best team rosa, however together with the technical staff we believe we have a very competitive team in order to make the racing as exciting as possible. The amount of climbing in this years Vuelta has helped us lean more towards a team that can support this type of terrain”.
Sport Director Gorazd Štangelj: “We have a very strong team with men who can do well on both the GC and the stage win. There are experienced athletes like Franco Pellizotti and young debut like Mark Padun and Hermann Pernsteiner. Our GC rider will be Ion Izagirre, with Vincenzo Nibali who can certainly make a good Vuelta. As usual, it will be a very special race, different from Giro d’Italia and Tour de France and with already a lot of climb starting from the second stage “.
The prologue in Malaga will mark for Vincenzo Nibali the return to the race after the incident at the last Tour:”I have been training for about only a couple of weeks and for this reason I think it will be very difficult to aim for the general classification. I will see day by day and I hope to be able to do well in some mountain stages anyway “.
First Vuelta, however, for Ion Izagirre “I finished the Tour with a good condition and also in San Sebastian the sensations were good. It will be my first Vuelta in my career and will race for the GC. I made several stages recon – especially the climbs in the north of Spain – and I like the route. There are also 40km TT and this is an advantage for me “.
TBM’s line-up for La Vuelta: Vincenzo Nibali, Franco Pellizotti, Ion Izagirre, Gorka Izagirre, Ivan Garcia Cortina, Luka Pibernik, Hermann Pernsteiner and Mark Padun