Andy Schleck and Denis Menchov Favored at 2010 Vuelta a Espana

News & Results

08/27/2010| 0 comments
by Reuters, with additional commentary by Roadcycling.com
Andy Schleck (Team Saxo Bank). Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Andy Schleck (Team Saxo Bank). Photo copyright Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Andy Schleck and Denis Menchov Favored at 2010 Vuelta a Espana

Tour de France podium finishers seek red jersey in 2010 Tour of Spain.

Tour de France podium finishers seek red jersey in 2010 Tour of Spain.

Tour de France podium finishers Andy Schleck of Luxembourg and Denis Menchov of Russia are the favourites for victory in the 2010 Tour of Spain, which starts on Saturday, race organiser Javier Guillen said.

"I think a straight duel between Menchov and Andy Schleck is more than likely," Guillen told Reuters. "Menchov is a very experienced rider in the Tour of Spain, whilst this year's mountainous route will suit Andy down to the ground.

"But we shouldn't forget Andy's brother, Frank, because I've heard he is in great form, or (2008 Tour de France winner) Carlos Sastre."

Andy Schleck has twice finished second in the Tour de France, in 2009 and 2010, while Menchov, third in Paris this year, won the Tour of Spain in 2005 and 2007.

Guillen said he was not discouraged by last year's withdrawals by both Schleck brothers before the halfway point.

"Both riders quit for physical reasons, not because they wanted to. I know they're both really motivated this year."

Spain's top stage racer Alberto Contador, who won his country's biggest race in 2008 is not taking part but Guillen said the level of participation was high enough for the three-times Tour de France champion not to be missed.

"If Alberto had come it would have been the icing on a very large cake. I think this year the level of participation is the best the race has seen in years."

Guillen said he expected high-level sprint finishes, in part thanks to the first-time participation of Briton Mark Cavendish.

"Cavendish is the fastest rider in the world but there are many others like Oscar Freire (of Spain) and Thor Hushovd (of Norway, Cervelo TestTeam) who will be trying to beat him. Mark isn't going to have it easy."

Time bonuses of 20, 12 and eight seconds for the top three riders will give the fast men the chance to claim the leader's jersey, which has changed in colour this year from gold to dark red.

"As everybody knows after Spain's sporting success this year, red is the colour of sport in our country and as such will help give the race its own identity," Guillen said.

Summit stage finishes in Andorra and by the Lakes of Covadonga, home to some of the last wolves in western Europe, are expected to have a big effect on the overall classification, with the first leader being decided by a night-time team time trial in Seville.

"Holding the first stage at 10 p.m. at night is something different and spectacular," said Guillen.

"We had a great start in Holland last year and ideally this year's first stage will be equally memorable."

Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for extensive 2010 Vuelta a Espana coverage including news, results, interviews and video highlights from every stage. Spread the word! When on the move, visit our mobile cycling site Roadcycling.mobi from your mobile phone or download our new cycling app for Nokia phones .

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