Vuelta a Espana

Well the Vuelta has got underway, Germany, Holland and Belgium staged the first 4 stages in typical wet weather and today they are heading back to Spain. Once again Fabian Cancellera won the opening time trial, and is currently in yellow. Legend, what a rider.

The riders will ride over 3000km over the next 3 weeks. All the big teams are taking part including Cervelo, Columbia HTC, Saxo Bank, Rabobank, Liquigas, Garmin and Casse D' Espaigne.

Columbia HTC arrive without Mark Cavendish and George Hincapie but the depth of the team allows them to still compete in the sprints with Andre Greipel with the likes of Kim Kirchen and Adam Hansen for support.

Garmin include David Millar and Dan Martin (who was unlucky to miss the Tour and will be worth watching in the mountains), together with Julian Dean, Martjin Maaskant and Tyler Farrar.

Cadel Evans is there with Silence-Lotto but I don't think he's with it this year to cause too much of a problem. Olympic Road Race Champion Alessandro Ballan joins in the fun with Lampre and Ivan Basso, Daniele Bennati and Romain Kreuziger are there for Liquigas.

Astana have left all the big guns at home (probably because most of them are leaving for Team RadioShack) so won't cause too much trouble. Although interesting Vinokourov, returns from a doping ban to Astana. I remember watching him at the last Tour he rode in, and he was a fantastic fighter of a rider to watch, such a shame he felt he had to dope. Talking of doping, Alejandro Valverde returns with Casse D' Espagne having missed the Tour due to trying to shake off a 2 year doping ban himself. It is currently in appeal. He had a fantastic Dauphine Libere, could be one to watch.

The strongest team for me is Saxo Bank, with both Andy and Frank Schleck popping along for the ride. With the mountains of Spain to contend with my money would be on Andy Schleck to win. Hopefully he isn't too tired after the Tour.

No comments: