By David Hunter
Arroyomolinos – Madrid 117.6km
The Vuelta ends with a trip around Madrid.
We are still fighting for the stage and green jersey. Matteo Trentin is 26 points behind Chris Froome, but you only get 25 points for a stage win. That means Trentin needs to be top 3 in the intermediate sprint. QuickStep are going to have to work hard for most of the stage.
Perfect conditions for the peloton.
It’s a finish that some know well, there is always a fierce battle for the final turn. Having powerful riders who can smash their way to the front, is very important.
Matteo Trentin – already with three wins, can he make it four? QuickStep have had an amazing race and Trentin will be delivered into a great position. The pressure to secure the intermediate sprint, could hamper their preparations for the final sprint. They need to be careful not to burn too many riders, but the stage is short and easy. The Italian starts the stage as the favourite.
JJ Lobato – took a solid 2nd place, way back on stage 4. The Spaniard has not enjoyed a good season, but a win here would turn it all around. Jumbo still have a full team to help support their sprinter, I expect him to challenge for the win.
Edward Theuns – for the first time in the race, he’ll have the full backing of his team! Now that Contador has his stage, it means that the Belgian will get the help of Koen De Kort. This will be huge, as he is the best lead out man in the race. We have seen Theuns work tirelessly for his team leader, it will be great to see him charge down the finishing straight and chase personal glory.
Sacha Modolo – his first Vuelta has not been a success. On his side in the final stage is experience, the Italian is about to complete his 5th grand tour. While others could be on their knees, you would expect Modolo to be fresher than most, but it will still be hard for him to win.
Tom Van Asbroeck – not got the speed to win.
Magnus Cort Nielsen – will get his first chance to sprint. On paper, he is one of the fastest here. Will he still be motivated after a long time supporting others?
Adam Blythe – I think he’ll be very tired. He should be able to challenge for the top 5, but the win will be beyond him.
With a full team behind him, I’m going for Edward Theuns. Fingers crossed he can get his first grand tour win. Vamos Eddie!
A massive thanks to everyone who has taken their time to read my Vuelta previews. It’s always fun previewing a grand tour and this has been no exception. I’ll be back with GP Wallonie, on Wednesday. Remember, cycling isn’t all about the “big” races!
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