From Burgos to Santiago de Compostela, down to the Mediterranean Sea and up to the Atlantic Ocean: The path of La Roja, from August 14 to September 5
After fighting hard at the Giro d’Italia and rejoicing over a stage win at Tour de France, Trek-Segafredo is more than motivated to have its say in the final Grand Tour of the season, the Vuelta a España.
“We have a brilliant and united group that comes to the start with ambition and a desire to emerge,” introduces director Gregory Rast.
“We expect a tough and unpredictable race, where courage and the will to attack can make a big difference,” adds Yaroslav Popovych, the second half of the directors who will lead the team.
Trek-Segafredo will have a designated leader, Giulio Ciccone, on his debut in the Spanish Grand Tour, flanked in primis by experts Gianluca Brambilla and Kenny Elissonde, both with five editions on their shoulders and a stage win. Then, for the climbs, we have home rider Juan Pedro Lopez and Antonio Nibali, while for the flat and mixed stages, Alex Kirsch and Kiel Reijnen. Last but certainly not least, Quinn Simmons, who at 20 years of age will make his Grand Tour debut.
“We have a rider, Ciccone, who deserves the utmost trust and support. For the first time in his career, he will race a GT as the sole leader, and we intend to put him in the best conditions to leave his mark. Being a leader means bearing the weight of responsibility, and for this reason, we need every teammate to give their best to help him,” says Rast.
“Giulio’s skills are well suited to this race, that’s a fact, and that’s why it’s fair to aim, as a starting goal, for an important general classification placement. If we include this year’s unfortunate Giro, it will be only the second time he will try to measure himself on a three-week GC challenge, but we believe he has enough resolve and character to do well.”
On paper, the 2021 Vuelta features two individual time trials, an opening (7km) and a closing (33km) race against the clock, eight flat stages, four transitional, and seven mountain stages.
“For the past few years, the Vuelta has taken its own path to differentiate itself from the other Grand Tours,” adds Popovych. “If the Giro is the race of challenging climbs and the Tour the one of long climbs, the Vuelta is standing out as the race of extreme climbs.
“It’s a trend that takes the race to high mountain peaks, on narrow and very steep roads, often new to cycling. Organizers have included them in all three weeks, and these will be the real watershed of the race for those who will look to the final classification. This structure will make the evolution of the GC challenge quite unpredictable.
“As usual, the third week will be the decisive one, but an unprecedented and very hard finish like Picon Blanco already in Stage 3 says a lot about the difficulties of what the GC contenders will find.
“I think it’s too hard to make predictions for this Vuelta. I see at least five valid GC contenders, and if I have to point out the number one favorite, I say Roglič, both for his strength and the desire of revenge that he will have after the Tour.
“I expect Jumbo-Visma to be the reference team, the one that will try to control the race. But with so many opportunities to attack and several riders ready to put them in trouble, I can see an exciting challenge for the fans. Needless to say, we want to to be in the game.”
While every Grand Tour has the leader’s jersey as the biggest target, in this case the Roja, every stage is also an open challenge up for grabs.
“Everyone will chase the goal of the day, which, inevitably, will mark the development of the race in the following days. We want to make our mark, first and foremost with Ciccone as captain, but we have an experienced team equipped to take advantage of any opportunities that may arise. The Vuelta stage finals are often unpredictable, so we have to be enough ready and smart,” says Rast.
“Sprinters and attackers will have important spaces. The beauty of the Vuelta lies in the variety of opportunities that can be found. That’s why, more than early predictions, it’s necessary to prepare for multiple scenarios with the objective of winning and, from our side, giving the fans an enjoyable show,” ends Popovych.
Trek-Segafredo team for 2021 Vuelta
- Giulio Ciccone (ITA)
- Gianluca Brambilla (ITA)
- Kenny Elissonde (FRA)
- Alex Kirsch (LUX)
- Juan Pedro Lopez (ESP)
- Antonio Nibali (ITA)
- Kiel Reijnen (USA)
- Quinn Simmons (USA)
Directors: Gregory Rast and Yaroslav Popovych