Promotional feature in association with GCN+
Have we saved the best until last?
The Vuelta a España, cycling’s third Grand Tour of the season, is upon us, and it promises to be even more explosive, more dramatic and even closer than this year’s sensational Tour de France.
Summit finishes? Eight of them. Mountain stages? Seven of them. A purist’s time trial that will create big gaps? Book stage 10 off of work. An opening team time trial to immediately create a hierarchy? Just a day away.
The route was designed, very clearly, to create a race where the GC contenders remain in close contact to one another right until the end, increasing the hype, adding to the daily suspense and scripting a storyline that won’t have its final chapter written until stage 20’s finish line atop the famous Puerto de Navacerrada climb.
August, for many, means sunny, relaxing holidays in Spain, but once the Vuelta returns to its homeland after three days in the Netherlands, there will barely be a moment’s respite for the peloton.
Relentless stages in the north, east, south and middle of the country have all been carefully put together to offer opportunities, catch riders out and to create unmissable moments that you will be able to watch wherever you are thanks to GCN+ who are providing uninterrupted, ad-free coverage of la fiesta del año.
Broadcasting all the drama that is certain to unfold, first on the roads of Holland, and then back on home soil, GCN+ will offer everything you need to watch along, including expert analysis and the ability to watch the race however and whenever you like.
The anticipation is palpable, with a star-studded line-up including five former winners, three other Grand Tour victors, and rising stars who are not just threatening to become big names but already are.
Can Remco Evenepoel, in just his second three-week race, come up trumps? The inclusion of only two high, long climbs - terrain that he supposedly struggles on - allied to a number of shorter climbs that seem tailormade to his characteristics suggest he could well do.
What about Jai Hindley? GCN+’s commentator Robbie McEwen certainly thinks that the young Australian will double up, adding the Vuelta to the Giro title that he secured in May.
How will Alberto Contador’s compatriot Alejandro Valverde get on in his final outing? Contador, who will be providing daily insight, fancies the 42-year-old to end on a high, while also backing the two young Spanish prodigies, UAE Team Emirates’ Juan Ayuso and Ineos Grenadiers’ Carlos Rodriguez.
Of course, we cannot discount Primož Roglič, winner of the last three editions and leading Jumbo-Visma as they search for their second Grand Tour victory of the year. There’s also Simon Yates, Ineos Grenadiers’ trio of Richard Carapaz, Pavel Sivakov and Tao Geoghegan Hart to watch out for, as well as the likes of Sergio Higuita, João Almeida and Thibaut Pinot.
As with the Tour, Giro and the Classics, the racing will dominate our daily thoughts and leave us wanting more. Satisfying our hunger, The Breakaway review show will provide each and every one of us with expert analysis to wrap up the day’s proceedings and to predict what will happen the following day.
It’s unlikely that we’ll all be taking a mid-afternoon siesta, and it’s also improbable that we will be crowded around our TVs for four hours every afternoon, but thanks to GCN+’s pause and rewind function, you can stream the race from the beginning or from whatever kilometre you desire, ensuring that you are kept abreast of every crucial moment.
If the Tour has the iconic climbs and pretty sunflower fields that have us dreaming of a French getaway, the Vuelta has us mesmerised and captivated by its perfectly-surfaced, narrow, twisting and beautiful roads in the green and lush north.
Once it heads south and the mercury shoots up, the idyllic beaches collide with ancient, historic towns and villages, pressed up and sometimes built into intimidating rocks and mountains.
Spain is a cycling paradise, and watching the Vuelta will have us searching GCN+’s backlog for documentaries and films about racing and adventure riding, or even diving into their race backlog and watching repeats of April’s Itzulia Basque Country or March’s Volta a Catalunya, the proganoists of which will be on show at the Vuelta.
For just £39 a year, and with the option to have a monthly subscription only, GCN+ will keep us across whatever happens in the coming 21 stages.
The parcours is brutal but well-balanced, the stars - new, established and old - are preparing for battle, and all we have to do is sit down and watch three weeks of world class racing however, wherever and whenever we want thanks to GCN+.
Plus there’s more to come this road season on GCN+ with the UCI World Championships and the Autumn Classics, including Il Lombardia, Paris-Tours and many more.
You can subscribe to GCN+ for just £6.99 to catch every second of the Vuelta, or join for a year for just £39.99 and never miss any of the big races, including the Autumn Classics, this winter's track and cyclocross racing, the Spring Classics, and next year's Grand Tours. Click here to subscribe.