La Vuelta a Espana 2022: The Preview

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La Vuelta a Espana 2022: The Preview

The grand tour starts on Friday in Utrecht, Netherlands, and ends on Sept. 11th in Madrid, Spain. There are the usual 21 stages, and for those who are feverishly looking for roster lists, we found a pretty comprehensive one

The big story from earlier in the week was Primož Roglič and Team Jumbo Visma confirming the Slovenian would go for his fourth straight “Maglia Rossa.” He would tie Roberto Heras for most Vuelta victories with four. 

Let us look at some key stages, pivot points, and how the Roglič news impacted the odds for all bettors. Finally, there will be the attempt to make some picks on what amounts to be a wide-open field for a wide-open course. 

Breaking Down This Grand Tour

There will be stage previews of this grand tour's vital and critical stages. La Vuelta starts on foreign soil. That will be a lot of fun. That Stage 1 “team time trial” is expected to open with fireworks. 

Typically, the first five riders must cross the finish line to get a time in these events. The 14.5-mile stage is flat throughout, favoring those who sprint proficiently. Again, watch the weather forecast, but it has been a hot and mostly dry summer throughout Spain. Keep that in mind as you consider your cycling bets.

La Vuelta features seven mountain stages (one mountain on Stage 12), several hilltop finishes, the aforementioned team time trial, a time trial (Stage 10), and five flat stages for the sprinters. Just watch out for possible crosswinds. 

The “General Classification (GC)” could change quite a bit with a wide-open field. Do not be surprised if teams like Jumbo Visma try to “give away” the red jersey for a few days here and there. That will help make for less work in defending the jersey.

Check locally for those watching on television in the states, but the Olympic Channel had been replaying last year’s Vuelta, and Peacock expects to offer streaming options. Chris Horner’s “Butterfly Effect” after stages is an asset to bettors.

One of the more trademark things about this final grand tour of the season is all the undulations. Climbing gradients, as they are called, will be detailed because recovery is such a critical issue. Because this is a three-plus week grand tour, naturally, experience will play a hand in some picks more than others. 

The Most Brutal Mountains

The first thing which was asked about Vuelta a Espana this year was this: What is the “Queen Stage”? That is up for debate. What is not is the Stage 14-15 combination. That could deliver a true haymaker among the general classification. 

Another thing to consider is the reality that La Pandera features four stretches on its climb with double-digit gradients. The kickers are bad enough, but the military-style road and extra 2.5 miles added will crack even some of the best climbers. Then, there is the “signature” Sierra Nevada in Stage 15.

Stage 15 is insanity, with over 12,000 feet of vertical climbing. Coming off Stage 14 will make pacing an extreme priority. Recovery and red zones will go hand in hand. Those riders who can recover quickly and not “tank” will enter the third week in an excellent position. 

Either way, do not forget the heat Spain is known for this time of year. Climbing mountains with temperatures in the 80’s and 90’s in the mountains (100 degrees plus in some valleys) will only add to this course. The back-to-back stages could be where the most attrition occurs.

Some Third Week Surprises

Third-week surprises figure to come in waves. Besides some crosswinds in the flat sections, the undulating terrain will fatigue even the best world-class riders. Stage 18 is nasty with El Piornal. 

It is an unyielding steady climb, and riders will go up all three possible paths. Only Alejandro Valverde has seen this summit finish. Unfamiliarity gives the course a slight advantage. 

Finally, there is that Stage 20. The “Sierras Of Madrid” is characterized by climbs that offer the last chance to see a change in the GC or for riders to just go flat-out hunting for stages. Every year something seems to go haywire here. 2015, Fabio Aru stole La Vuelta from Tom Dumoulin by attacking two climbs out. It might happen again.

Final Words And Predictions

The books focused on the Roglič perhaps a bit too much. There was a glimmer of hope they might consider potential health pitfalls and his propensity to take risks. However, that was dashed on Tuesday when numbers mainly ranged from +125 to +225 for the pre-race favorite. 

With so many wrinkles to this grand tour, this is the toughest of the trio to predict. However, we salute you for those who live-bet Jonas Vingegaard to win after Stage 6 of the Tour de France. Live betting is something to consider if the option is available again, along with stage-by-stage wagering. 

Digging around allowed for some bold bets. Here we go! 

  • Joao Almeida to win at +1400 on Caesars and +200 to podium on FanDuel, +200 for Young Riders’ classification (DraftKings)
  • Richard Carapaz +4000 on DraftKings for “King Of The Mountains”
  • Sepp Kuss +3500 on Caesars for “King Of The Mountains”
  • Remco Evenepoel +2800 on Caesars for “Points Classification”
  • Brandon McNulty +2200 on Caesars for “Young Riders”
  • Team Jumbo Visma for Stage 1, if a good number is available

Again, expect a wild and aggressive grand tour. That is characteristic of La Vuelta. Good luck, everyone!

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