2022 La Vuelta a Espana Preview and Predictions
The Vuelta a Espana 2022 will field a strong peloton set to compete on the roads of The Netherlands and Spain on a 21-stage route featuring six sprinter stages, nine mountaintop finishes, one individual time trial and one team time trial.
The list of contenders for this year’s Tour of Spain features defending Vuelta champion Primoz Roglic of Team Jumbo-Visma. After abandoning this year’s Tour de France and watching teammate Jonas Vingegaard triumph in Paris from his couch, the Slovakian rider will be eager to show fans and team management he remains the team captain of choice for next year’s Tour de France. Having extended his contract through the 2025 season, he will be able to do so in a less stressed manner and can rely on loyal support from valuable teammates including Rohan Dennis, Robert Gesink, and Sepp Kuss who played an important part in Vingegaard’s Tour de France success by pulling on the steepest of climbs. Winning the Vuelta four times in a row would be a feat of historic dimensions, so there should be plenty of motivation for Roglic.
Other major contenders for the overall victory in this year’s Vuelta a Espana include Bora-Hansgrohe’s Giro d’Italia winner Jay Hindley, Enric Mas (Team Movistar), Richard Carapaz (Ineos), Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious), Simon Yates (Team BikeExchange), Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates), 37-year-old veteran Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), and EF Education First’s GC trio Rigoberto Uran, Esteban Chaves, and Hugh Carthy.
Fans will welcome world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Team QuickStep) who is returning to top competition following a lengthy absence caused by a severe crash in this year’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Hoping to make the rainbow jersey shine in front of the Spanish audience, charismatic Alaphilippe will target stage wins along with other stage win hopefuls including teammate Remco Evenepoel, Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe), Tim Merlier (Alpecin-Deceuninck), Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe), and Cofidis’ Bryan Coquard.
Chris Froome finally showed signs of impressive form in this year’s Tour de France by finishing third on the legendary L’Alpe d’Huez climb and spectators will be hoping for more of the same from the British rider.
AG2R-Citroen’s Bob Jungels experienced an injury plagued season last year, but his team having shown continuous support and finally having found a solution to his knee problems, he secured both a stage victory and a top-12 overall finish in this year’s Tour de France only to prove himself disloyal to his team thereafter by signing a contract with the Bora-Hansgrohe team for seasons 2023-2024.
The 3280-kilometer route of the 2022 La Vuelta a Espana begins with a 23.3-kilometer team time trial on the roads of Utrecht, the Netherlands on Friday, August 19 and continues with two road stages – including the longest stage to satisfy the many Dutch cycling fans eager to welcome the third Grand Tour of the season before it moves on to the roads of Spain. With this year’s Giro d’Italia starting in Hungary and the Grand Depart of the Tour de France located in Denmark, the Dutch audience certainly has had a long wait for the excitement to commence.
The Vuelta riders, staff and caravan then travels to the Basque Country, where the riders will compete in two medium mountain stages before starting a major mountaintop finish stage in Bilbao – a city known for its remarkable architecture and a stage featuring two category 1 climbs.
The Vuelta will then move on to mainland Spain where the riders will contest stages 7-21 on a route that concludes in Madrid on September 11. The Vuelta organizers being known for their determination to please the mountain goats of the peloton, this year’s nine mountaintop finish stages will have a significant influence on the general classification, as will the stage 10 individual time trial on a flat 30.9-kilometer route from Elche to Alicante. Stages 8, 14, 15 and 20 will expose the challengers to the most remarkable and grueling climbs, with stage 8’s Colláu Fancuaya sporting the steepest gradient of a whooping 19 percent and stage 15 featuring the most severe climb of this year’s Vuelta a Espana – the 19.3-kilometer road to Sierra Nevada.
Fans of team time trials will be happy to enjoy the first team time trial in a Grand Tour this year. The beautiful TTT discipline is a visual joy for viewers and in this Vuelta it is expected to be dominated by the Jumbo-Visma, Ineos, QuickStep and UAE Team Emirates teams, because of the strong time trialists included in the team lineups.
Who will win the 2022 Vuelta? Our predictions are as follows.
Ineos team captain Richard Carapaz (Ecuador) is renowned for his remarkable climbing abilities, which will come to much use in this year’s Vuelta. The Ineos team is in dire need of a Grand Tour victory this season and the Vuelta is their final chance. Carapaz finished second in this year’s Giro d’Italia and has had plenty of time to prepare for the Vuelta in a focused manner while other riders were busy contesting this Tour de France in July. Carapaz’ climbing skills will compensate for his less-than-optimal individual time trialing abilities and a strong Ineos team lineup in the Vuelta – featuring Ethan Hayter and Dylan van Baarle – will support him well in the team time trial. Carapaz will win the Vuelta.
Simon Yates (Great Britain) won two stages of this year’s Giro d’Italia, including the individual time trial, before abandoning the race. Though the Giro time trial was just 10 kilometers long, his time trialing skills have improved. Yates’ favorite discipline is climbing, and he has shown good form in build-up races to the Vuelta and finished 6th in the Classica San Sebastian and won Vuelta a Castilla y Leon. His BikeExchange-Jayco team features Lucas Hamilton, Luke Durbridge and Lawson Craddock. It will deliver valuable support both in the team time trial and the mountains and it may even take a surprise victory in the team time trial. Yates will take 2nd place.
Primoz Roglic (Slovenia) abandoned the Tour de France after crashing and has had time to recover for the Vuelta a Espana. The Jumbo-Visma team is known for its ability to prepare its riders optimally for races. Roglic is defending Vuelta champion and will be eternally remembered in Vuelta history if he takes a fourth Vuelta victory in-a-row. If Roglic has recovered, he will be motivated and supported by a strong team featuring Sepp Kuss, Rohan Dennis, and Robert Gesink. If Roglic is unfit, American rider Kuss will have the chance to better his 8th place GC finish from last year, while Gesink will aim for stage successes. Roglic will finish third.
EF Education First will focus on the general classification in this year’s Vuelta, while also aiming for stage victories in the mountain stages. Rigoberto Uran and Esteban Chaves will aim for general classification success while we predict Hugh Carthy will offer valuable support while hoping for stage wins and gunning for a victory in the mountains classification, which would add a valuable asset to his palmares.
Chaves has had time to settle in with his new team following his move from Team BikeExchange. He is great at climbing, but he still needs to work on his time trialing skills with his team if he is to finish on the podium of a grand tour again. Chaves will finish 8th.
Uran disappointed significantly in the Tour de France – a race he started following a Covid infection. If Uran has recovered well and is able to avoid a bad day in the mountains he will do well in the general classification and will finish higher because his strong time trial performance will help him. The team looks strong in the mountains if the big names can work well together. Uran (35) enjoys racing and is a mood booster to his team. He is, however, ageing and knows now is the time if he wants a memorable result in the Vuelta. Uran will finish 4th.
Australia’s Jai Hindley is reigning Giro d’Italia champion and will have a shared leader role with Bora-Hansgrohe teammate Sergio Higuita in this year’s Vuelta a Espana, while the team will also aim for success in the points competition with their sprinter Sam Bennett. The Bora team sports strong riders such as Wilco Kelderman, Ryan Mullen, and Danny van Poppel. Hindley will do well in the Vuelta, but the team’s two General Classification leader strategy combined with focus on supporting their sprinter will cost them the overall victory. Pen Hindley down for 5th in the general classification.
Roadcycling.com predicts Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) will finish 6th, Enric Mas (Movistar) 7th, Esteban Chaves 8th, Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) 9th. Chris Froome will finish tenth. Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez will finish outside the Vuelta a Espana top 10, but he will win a stage.
2022 Vuelta a Espana Route and Stages:
Stage 1: Friday August 19
Utrecht – Utrecht
Stage 2: Saturday August 20
‘s-Hertogenbosch – Utrecht
Stage 3: Sunday August 21
Breda – Breda
Rest day: Monday August 22
Stage 4: Tuesday August 23
Votoria-Gasteiz – Laguardia
152.5km (Medium mountains)
Stage 5: Wednesday August 24
Irun – Bilbao
187.2km (Medium mountains)
Stage 6: Thursday August 25
Bilbao – Pico Jano (San Miguel de Aguayo)
181.2km (Summit finish)
Stage 7: Friday August 26
Camargo – Cistierna
190km (Medium mountains)
Stage 8: Saturday August 27
La Pola Llaviana – Collau Fancuaya
153.4km (Summit finish)
Stage 9: Sunday August 28
Villaviciosa – Les Praeres
171.4km (Summit finish)
Rest day: Monday August 29
Stage 10: Tuesday August 30
Elche – Alicante
Stage 11: Wednesday August 31
ElPozo Alimentacion – Cabo de Gata
Stage 12: Thursday September 1
Salobrena – Penas Blancas
192.7km (Summit finish)
Stage 13: Friday September 2
Ronda – Montilla
Stage 14: Saturday September 3
Montoro – Sierra de La Pandera
160.3km (Summit finish)
Stage 15: Sunday September 4
Martos – Alto Hoya de la Mora, Sierra Nevada
149.6km (Summit finish)
Rest day: Monday September 5
Stage 16: Tuesday September 6
Sanlucar de Barrameda – Tomares
Stage 17: Wednesday September 7
Aracena – Monasterio de Tentudia
162.3km (Uphill finish)
Stage 18: Thursday September 8
Trujillo – Alto del Piornal
192km (Summit finish)
Stage 19: Friday September 9
Talavera de la Reina – Talavera de la Reina
138.3km (Medium mountains)
Stage 20: Saturday September 10
Moralzarzal – Puerto de Navacerrada
Stage 21: Sunday September 11
Las Rozas – Madrid