Top 10: Vuelta a Espana red jersey contenders

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The 2014 Vuelta a Espana has one of the most competitive starting lists of any Grand Tour in recent memory when it comes to the General Classification.

With Froome and Contador being joined by Giro podium placers Nairo Quintana, Rigoberto Uran and Fabio Aru, as well as established and reliable names such as Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez, this year's Vuelta is extremely unpredictable and numerous factors will go into deciding the overall result.

Honorable mentions

Potential GC contenders who did not make the list include Carlos Bentancur (Ag2r), Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Lotto- Belisol), Ryder Hesjedal and Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp), Samuel Sanchez and Cadel Evans (BMC) and Daniel Moreno (Katusha).

10. Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp)

After producing a brilliant tactical race to clinch Dauphine victory ahead of Alberto Contador on the final day, Talansky was a potential podium contender at this year's Tour de France, but several crashes ruined his race. He will look to bounce back with a good result here, though he has stated that team-mates Hesjedal and Martin will be the team leaders at the race.

9. Wilco Kelderman (Belkin)

Dutch youngster Kelderman has had a very solid season, with fourth place in the Dauphine and seventh in the Giro being his standout results. While he is unlikely to challenge for overall victory another consistent ride could see him place in the top 5.

8. Fabio Aru (Astana)

Aru had his breakthrough race at this years Giro with 3rd overall and a stage win. He has not raced much since the Giro so shouldn't be too fatigued from his efforts in Italy going into the Vuelta.

7. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)

Pinot rebounded from his disappointing 2013 Tour to come 3rd overall and take the best young rider jersey this year. Whilst he wasn't close to yellow jersey Nibali he was very impressive in the mountains and will look to challenge more established names here in the Spanish mountains.

6. Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha)

After crashing out of the Giro and struggling in the first week of the Tour. Rodriguez will look to challenge for the overall in at least one Grand Tour this year. He did show good form after his disappointing first week at the Tour by challenging for the KOM jersey and coming 3rd in that classification, proving that he could be a podium contender here.

5. Alejandro Valverde (Movistar)

Valverde has been extremely consistent in the last several years, though fairly unspectacular when it comes to Grand Tours. Expect a solid ride and a strong challenge for a podium position, but team-mate Quintana is probably currently the more likely of the two Movistar contenders to challenge for overall honors.

4. Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma - Quick Step)

After two consecutive runner-up spots at the Giro d'Italia, Uran will look to challenge for a high GC placing in his first Grand Tour outside the Giro. He was unlucky not to win this years Giro after confusion on the Stelvio allowed Quintana to escape in a group, and will look to right those wrongs here.

3. Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo)

Though he is still recovering from a broken leg which ended his Tour de France, and though he has gone against doctors orders just by competing and has claimed that he is not expecting to challenge for the overall win in Spain, whenever Contador starts a race you can guarantee he will be riding for the win. Expect him to start off going for GC - if he struggles, he will likely change his game plan and go for stage wins.

2. Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Runner-up in last years Tour and the winner of this years Giro, Quintana has proven himself to be one of the best young Grand Tour contenders of this generation and will look to build on that reputation with a podium placing here. Fellow team-mate and GC contender Valverde should be a help for him more than a hindrance.

1. Chris Froome (Sky)

The favorite for this years Tour de France, Froome's race was ended with a crash on Stage five. He, along with fellow main contender Contador, will look to rebound from that disappointment with an overall win here, though his form coming off his two hand fractures sustained at the Tour is still to be determined.

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Vuelta a Espana
Alberto Contador

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