Roglic eyes third Vuelta as Olympic stars feel heat in Spain – .

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Roglic eyes third Vuelta as Olympic stars feel heat in Spain – .


Madrid (AFP)

The last 21-day cycling race of the season, the Vuelta a Espana, kicks off Saturday in Burgos with three Olympic champions on the mountainous route reserved for individual time trials.

The race begins with a heat wave with mercury set to 38C (100F) on the first of 21 stages.

Two-time defending Slovenian champion Primoz Roglic of Jumbo Visma won Olympic time trial gold in Tokyo two weeks ago, while last year’s Vuelta finalist Richard Carapaz from Ineos, won the Olympic road race.

Tom Pidcock is also part of the Ineos team for his very first Grand Tour after winning gold in mountain biking in Japan, having earlier this season earned a reputation as one of the top road racers. Sport.

– Ineos honor the Vuelta –

“I’ve been enjoying every minute since the Olympics and have kept enough form to run for three weeks,” said Pidcock, who seems capable of winning stages here.

Pidcock and Carapaz begin the 3,417 km tour serving Colombian climber Egan Bernal, aiming to become the youngest man to win all the Grand Tours after his Tour de France 2019 and the Giro d’Italia 2021 in May.

“It is a great honor for us, the organizers, that the Ineos team has fielded such a selection of champions,” said Javier Guillen, general manager of the Vuelta.

Richard Carapaz in Tokyo Greg Baker AFP

“Carapaz is now an icon with his Olympic title. The mastery with which he won the road race has thrilled aficionados around the world, ”Guillen said of Carapaz, who finished second behind Roglic by just 24 seconds in 2020.

Bernal is racing the Vuelta for the first time, as he did last May in the Giro which he won in style.

“Winning the three Grand Tours would be a dream,” admitted Bernal.

” I feel good. Of course I will try to win. “

In May, Ineos named Briton Adam Yates as the leader of the Vuelta, and he should emulate his brother Simon who won in 2018.

“We have different cards to play and the road will put everyone in their place,” said Yates.

– Finally Landa –

Spain also have a good chance of being honored, as Bahrain’s Mikel Landa looks to confirm his long-held hopes following his Tour of Burgos victory.

Other contenders for a race with nine top finishes in the 76th edition are Briton Hugh Carthy from EF and French climber Romain Bardet from DSM.

The course designers made the Vuelta possibly the toughest race of the year, the key detail being the final 33km time trial to Santiago de Compostela.

The final puts pressure on the two favorites – Roglic due to his late collapse to lose the 2020 Tour de France, and Bernal because he is considered too light to do this kind of exercise well.

The pair also appear to match in the mountains, although Bernal is technically more accomplished on descents or avoiding falls.

The organizers have also added sprint point bonuses in ten of the stages as well as time bonuses for the top three in each stage other than the time trials.

“We want to make it as exciting as possible,” said the organizers.

The strict Covid protocols that were applied in 2020 will be operational again with the race having its own mobile test center.

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