Cycling

Five riders who can win the Vuelta a Espana

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Froome will be the favourite going into the race (©GettyImages)
Froome will be the favourite going into the race (©GettyImages).

With the start of the Vuelta a Espana only two weeks away I take a look at the riders who could win the red jersey.

1. Chris Froome

Froome will go into the race as the favourite even though he crashed out during the Tour de France. The 2013 Tour champion has only ridden in the Vuelta twice, finishing second in 2011 and fourth in 2012.

The Brit will be the strongest rider in the race this year as it is unlikely that Alberto Contador will not feature due to his injuries sustained at the Tour de France.

As long as Froome doesn't crash out again he should be able to win the Vuelta for the first time in his career. He is the strongest in the mountains and there are not a lot of riders that will be able to keep pace with him.

2. Nairo Quintana

In my opinion Quintana will be Froome's biggest challenger. The Colombian is very good in the mountains and has had more time to train for the Vuelta.

Quintana didn't take part in the Tour this year after he led Movistar in the Giro d'Italia, which he eventually won.

The 24 year old will be looking for his second Grand Tour win of the season and he is more than capable of getting the win. He finished second in the Tour de France last year and also picked up the King of the Mountains jersey and the Best Young Rider jersey.

The only thing holding Quintana back will be whether he is the leader of his team. If Alejandro Valverde is the leader Quintana may not be given the opportunity to win the race.

3. Alejandro Valverde

Another overall contender from Movistar. Valverde usually performs well in the Spanish race but he isn't in great form going into the event this year.

Valverde had a fairly disappointing Tour de France and struggled on most of the long climbs. However with Quintana in his team, Valverde could use him to pace him up the tough climbs.

The Spaniard finished third in the Vuelta last year but does have a win to his name. Valverde won the event in 2009.

Valverde is always in with a shot of winning any race and if he can work on his climbing he will be one to watch.

4. Cadel Evans

Evans set his sites on winning the Giro d'Italia this year but unfortunately he couldn't quite do it but after having some time to prepare for the Vuelta I think he will have a good race.

If the veteran cyclist can keep up with his rivals in the mountains he will be somewhere near the top of the leader board but with the likes of Froome and Quintana it may be hard.

Evans is good at time trials though and with there being an individual time trial at the end of the three week race he could make up some valuable time.

5. Andrew Talansky

The Criterium du Dauphine winner crashed out of the Tour de France this year but he's back for the Vuelta and big things are expected.

Talansky is a great all round cyclist and can match his rivals in all aspects of the race, whether it's climbing or sprinting.

He is definitely one to watch as long as he is fully recovered after the Tour. The American may be a bit cautious in his racing and this could play into his rivals hands.

Topics:
Vuelta a Espana
Cycling
Alberto Contador
Tour De France
Cadel Evans
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