La Vuelta a España is just around the corner with some of the sport’s biggest names ready to take the start.
This includes half a dozen British riders from five different teams, who will take to the start ramp in Burgos for the opening prologue on Saturday 14 August.
Ineos Grenadiers brings together the most British riders with two, EF Education-Nippo, Alpecin-Fenix, Lotto-Soudal and Deceuninck – Quick-Step are the others.
>>> Vuelta a España 2021 start list: Egan Bernal, Primož Roglič and Adam Yates are the stars of the 76th edition of the race
Adam Yates – Ineos Grenadiers
Adam Yates was one of the Ineos Grenadiers’ best starters at the start of the season with a strong second place on the UAE Tour behind Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), who was put under pressure by the British rider.
He then comfortably won the Volta a Catalunya, taking a stage victory as well as the general classification ahead of his team-mates, Geraint Thomas and Richie Porte.
After that, he didn’t quite regain the same form, taking a solid fourth place in the general classification of the Tour of the Basque Country followed by two top 20 riders in Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He then took a break from racing and only returned to the Olympic road race in Japan where he placed ninth.
It was then to Spain for the Clásica San Sebastián and 27th place with him and teammate Egan Bernal both struggling to come close to the front. The last preparation race of the Vuelta a España, the Vuelta a Burgos came with him and Bernal as big favorites, but they both got caught in an accident which meant they had to focus on Pavel Sivakov in the fight for the GC.
Tom Pidcock – Ineos Grenadiers
The most recent titles for Tom Pidcock of course came from his stunning cross-country mountain biking gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but he’s now back on the road side of the sport and his Grand Tour debut.
Pidcock, who is 22, had an extraordinary race in his debut season at WorldTour level with five of his first 13 races giving him top-five results, including a victory at Brabantse Pijl where he defeated Wout van Aert (Jumbo -Visma), second in the Amstel Gold Race behind Van Aert by the width of a hair as well as an astonishing third in Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne behind Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) and Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies ).
All of his races except one for Ineos, however, have been one-day races with only his first race for the team, the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, being a stage race, so it can be a bit of a shock to the system. However, there are several steps that might be suitable for Yorkshireman references.
Hugh Carthy – EF Education-Nippo
Third last year in the general classification of the Vuelta, Hugh Carthy arrives with a little more expectations than in previous years. The pure climber from Preston in Lancashire, however, showed great form in his last preparation run.
La Vuelta a Burgos was a mixed bag for Carthy, but he pulled it all off on the last stage to win atop the Lagunas de Neila in front of a star squad including Bernal, Adam (both Ineos Grenadiers) and Simon Yates (BikeExchange) , Romain Bardet (DSM), future winner Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious).
Carthy had a solid race in the Giro d’Italia at the start of the year, with the Briton placing eighth in the final overall standings. He looked like he was aiming for a podium spot, but a few mountain stages in the last week wasted too much time.
Before that he was just as strong with a third place in his first race of the year at the Faun-Ardèche Classic, an eighth at the Volta a Catalunya, a twelfth in the Tour du Pays Basque and a fifth in the Tour des Alpes. .
James Knox – Deceuninck – Quick-Step
James Knox, like Carthy, is expected to take part in his second Grand Tour of the season after the Giro earlier in the year where he finished 53rd after supporting Remco Evenepoel and later João Almeida for Deceuninck – Quick-Step.
He has only raced once since the Giro de la Clásica San Sebastián where he finished 30th alongside his teammate Mikkel Honoré who took third place today.
Knox has played the supporting role throughout the season, with his best results being two seventh places, one at Trofeo Laigueglia and the other on stage three of the Tour of the Basque Country, followed by an eighth place one day. later on his way to the 14th. globally.
The Cumbrian rider has yet to achieve a victory in his career, but has shown that he is an excellent, reliable mountain rider.
Matt Holmes – Lotto Soudal
Matt Holmes’ second season in the WorldTour was once again a solid one, although he didn’t complete all four of his first four races, he started to strengthen his form.
A good performance in the Tour de Romandie earned him two more retirements but he came back in force at the Critérium du Dauphiné where he wore the mountain jersey for a few days before finishing fourth in this competition.
After that he entered a team role at the Tour de Wallonie with the same at the Vuelta a Castila y Leon and at the Clásica San Sebastián.
This will be Holmes’ second Grand Tour after riding and finishing the Giro in 2020, he is hoping for another good performance at the Vuelta.
Scott Thwaites – Alpecin-Fenix
Last but not least, Yorkshireman Scott Thwaites is about to take part in his third Grand Tour. He will be a key part of the start of Belgian sprinter Jasper Philipsen at Alpecin-Fenix.
Thwaites hasn’t raced much this season with only six races to his name, one of which he was unable to complete at Ghent-Wevelgem.
But he played key roles as a teammate in the other five, Paris-Nice was his first race and saw his second best place from 27th place on the second stage.
He also took part in the Classic Brugge-De Panne, in the Vuelta a Andalousie, in theoops of the Mayenne where he obtained his best result in 26th position during the last stage and more recently in the Vuelta a Burgos.
The 31-year-old will likely be part of Philipsen’s front-end setup on the sprint scene, of which there are unusually high numbers in this year’s Vuelta.