The Vuelta a Espana is the yearly multi-stage bicycle race held in Spain. Patterned after the Giro d’ Italia and Tour de France, the Vuelta a Espana was first raced in 1935 and has been held every year since 1955. Although it is literally the “Tour of Spain”, the race occasionally makes passes through nearby countries. Likewise, the peloton has expanded from being primarily a Spanish-only race to one that features the best cyclists in the world. The Vuelta is a UCI World Tour event, which means that majority of the participants are UCI World teams, save for the wild card entries which the organizers of the race can invite.
Together with the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, the Vuelta a Espana make up cycling’s Grand Tours. The current edition of the Vuelta consists of a 21-stage race schedule held over a 23-day period with two rest days in between. All of the stages are timed and the riders’ individual times are added after every stage. The rider with the lowest aggregate time is the race leader and gets to wear the red jersey.
The General Classification competition is considered the most prestigious but aside from it, competitions like the Points Classification, Mountains Classification, Combination Classification and Team Classification are simultaneously held.
Roberto Heras holds the record for most victories at the Vuelta a Espana with four. Sean Kelly, Laurent Jalabert and Alejandro Valverde own four wins each in the Points Classification. Jose Luis Laguia has 5 wins in the Mountains Classification while Spain is the winningest country in the race with a total of 41 Vuelta a Espana wins.
2019 Vuelta a Espana will be the 74th edition of the Tour of Spain. It will be held from August 24, 2019, to September 15, 2019. The race will commence with a team time trial stage in Torrevieja on the Costa Blanca. The race has a total distance of 3,272.2 km divided into 21 stages across three weeks of racing.
Below is a list of the winners of the Vuelta a Espana during the current decade:
- 2010 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas–Doimo
- 2011 Juan José Cobo (Esp) Geox–TMC
- 2012 Alberto Contador (Esp) Saxo Bank–Tinkoff Bank
- 2013 Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack–Leopard
- 2014 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff–Saxo
- 2015 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana
- 2016 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar Team
- 2017 Chris Froome (GBR) Team Sky
- 2018 Simon Yates (GBR) Mitchelton–Scott
Last year, Simon Yates won 2018 Vuelta a Espana, his first Grand Tour victory. Yates was coming off a Giro d’Italia disappointment before winning the Spanish tour. The Englishman’s final time was 82 hours, 5 minutes and 58 seconds as he finished 1:46 ahead of Enric Mas who came in second. Miguel Angel Lopez completed the podium by finishing in third place.
This year, Yates is 9th in the current cycling betting odds board for the outright winner of the 2019 Vuelta a Espana. Here are the odds to win 2019 Vuelta a Espana. These odds were taken from TitanBet as of 8/12/19:
|Miguel Angel Lopez||+300|
|Enric Mas Nicolau||+1400|
|Johan Esteban Chaves||+3300|
|Tao Geoghegan Hart||+3300|
Who Are The Favorites?
Primoz Roglic is the 29-year old Slovenian from UCI World Team Team Jumbo-Visma. Roglic has had a solid last two years of racing. In 2018, he was 4th in the 2018 Tour de France and won the 2018 Tour of the Baque Country and 2018 Tour de Romandie. He also won the 2018 Tour of Slovenia and finished third in the 2018 Tour of Britain. This year, Roglic won the Tour de Romandie again and took the Tirreno-Adriatico plus the UAE Tour. Then Roglic finished third overall in the 2019 Giro d’Italia.
Miguel Angel Lopez finished third in the Vuelta a Espana last year. The 25-year-old Colombian is having a fine 2019 with his second consecutive Young Rider Classification win at the Giro d’Italia. He was also the Young Rider winner of the Vuelta a Espana in 2017 where he finished 8th overall.
Richard Caparaz is the 26-year old from Team Movistar who won his first major race earlier this year at the 2019 Giro d’Italia. The Ecuadorian is only the second South American to win the prestigious race and the first and only from Ecuador. Caparaz first raced the Tour of Italy in 2018 where he finished in 4th place.
Geraint Thomas is the leader of UCI World Team Team Ineos. Thomas has won three World Championships and two Olympic gold medals. He was the 2018 Tour de France winner. This year, Thomas has yet to win a major race. He finished third at the 2019 Tour de Romandie and second at the 2019 Tour de France.
Steven Kruijswijk rides for UCI World Team Team Jumbo-Visma. The 32-year-old Dutchman finished 9th in this race in 2017 and 4th last year. He’s had a solid 2019 with a 6th place finish at the Tour de Romandie, 5th place finishes at the Volta a Catalunya and 3rd place at the Vuelta an Andalucia. Kruijswijk was also third in the just concluded 2019 Tour de France.
Primoz Roglic has perhaps the most solid two-year credentials among the top betting favorites to win 2019 Vuelta a Espana so he is justified as such. Miguel Angel Lopez is coming off a podium finish in Spain last year while Richard Caparaz is coming off a victory in Italy. Don’t count out Geraint Thomas who finished in second place at the 2019 Tour de France despite being called out of form before the race.
But let’s not forget last year’s winner Simon Yates who hasn’t won a major race this season but is coming off a disappointing Tour de France where he finished in 49th place in the General Classification competition. Yates was 8th at the 2019 Giro d’Italia but is having form problems this year.
The Vuelta a Espana is a Grand Tour which favors the climbers. Roglic, Kruijswijk, and Thomas are among the best climbers in the business. When you look at the Mountains Classification in the 2019 Tour de France, it’s Kruijswijk who finished in 9th place. But don’t forget the defending champion Simon Yates was 6th in the King of the Mountains competition in France. Kruijswijk was 3rd overall in the 2019 Tour de France and was 4th in Spain last year. So based on better betting value and current form, I’m picking Steven Kruijswijk to win 2019 Vuelta a Espana. Prediction: Steven Kruijswijk