06/24/2021 at 10:23 AM CEST
Enric Mas (Movistar), fifth classified in the 2020 Tour, will be, in the absence of Mikel Landa, the main reference among the 17 Spaniards registered in the 108 edition of the Tour de France that begins this Saturday in Brest. The goal of the Balearic, who will share gallons with the Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez, is none other than achieving a place on the podium.
A challenge that comes to the runner of Artá at the age of 26, with the experience learned to fight for positions of honor in an edition where he will not be short of important rivals. The fight between the Slovenians Pogacar and Roglic and the potential of Ineos, with Carapaz and Thomas, will be just some of the obstacles.
But he will not leave Brest as one of the favorites, it will do so in the so-called group of the second step. Ambition runner, last year he was fifth, precisely ahead of his teammate “Superman” López, so improving your brand would mean qualifying for the podium.
The Spaniard can move in the noble zone in the two time trials that total 58 kilometers and in the mountains he must be close to the best. It is the undisputed asset of Spanish cycling.
VALVERDE AND THE YELLOW DREAM IN BRITAIN
Alejandro Valverde, still fighting at age 41, did not have the Tour on his initial agenda, but he arrives with two victories to his fourteenth participation and a sweet start to the Tour in Brittany, with long days and high finals that could end with “El Bala” as the leader.
Attempting that goal and helping its leaders will be the Murcian’s job to Paris, if he arrives, as the Olympic Games await him a week after the Tour ends. His form of form shown lately could even encourage the 2018 world champion to continue one more year in the professional peloton.
The telephone training bet strongly with “Supermán” López, 27, a value on the rise, sixth last year and in good shape, as evidenced by his victories in Vuelta a Andalucía and Desafío Mont Ventoux. The Colombian and Mas will decide on the road who is the leader among Unzué’s men.
Movistar also has in its ranks Marc Soler, 27 years old, winner of the stage in Romandía and retired in the Giro that was to confirm the Catalan as a leading man. The team is completed by route chief Imanol Erviti, Carlos Verona, Jorge Arcas and Iván García Cortina, a classic-style cyclist who has signed a star this season, pending to show his conditions after a season without results.
ASTANA WITH IZAGIRRE AND FRAILE, CASTROVIEJO WARRANTY IN INEOS
TSpanish res will be key in the Astana Premier Tech, no less than two recent national champions, Ion Izagirre Y Omar friar, winners in time and route respectively, as well as Alex Aranburu, a rookie with enthusiasm and quality to debut his record on the Tour.
The Basque trio will have a helping role for the team leaders, Lutsenko and Fuglsang, but in a Tour with a route for all types of rider they will have their options. The champions of Spain already know what it is to raise their arms in France.
On the powerful Ineos of the Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz and the Welshman Geraint Thomas shows the figure of Jonathan Castroviejo, a man of guarantees for all the team leaders in the most successful seasons of the British squad.
At 34 years old and his seventh participation, the Getxo rider has just been key in the Giro for the triumph of Egan Bernal. Good time trialist, he helps on the flat and in the mountains he wears out putting his face in the lead. The gregarious that all leaders want to have.
Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious), without Mikel Landa in the team, has also been key to Caruso’s second place in the Giro. With a diesel engine, it tends to go from low to high, and you could look into your options to win a stage. You will also have to help for the men of the general of your team, Jack Haig and Wout Poels.
ANDAt Cofidis there will be a double Spanish presence, with Jesús Herrada and Rubén Fernández. The “rooster” of the squad will be the French Guillaume Martin, but the manchego will fight for a stage and to show that he can be called up for the Olympic Games. Fernández will assume functions of pure gregarious.
In the Total Direct Energie, there are two Spaniards, Victor de la Parte from Alava and Cristian Rodríguez from Andalusia, winner of the exotic Tour of Rwanda. They will both try to get on getaways and buy lucky tickets.
Carlos Barbero he will defend his options to win a stage at the sprint with the South African Qhubeka jersey.