Geraint Thomas Spearheads Ineos-Grenadiers Roster for Vuelta a Espana
British Team Ineos-Grenadiers has revealed its roster for this year’s Vuelta a Espana. The team has built a strong team around its team leader Geraint Thomas, who noteworthily finished second in this year’s Giro d’Italia after Belgian winner Remco Evenepoel.
The hugely popular Welshman Thomas most recently participated in the Vuelta a Espana in 2015 – a race in which he finished 69th.
“I’m really looking forward to going back to La Vuelta and hopefully I’ll do better than in 2015,” Thomas explained to Roadcycling.com. “My 2015 race was horrific, and it certainly wasn’t the most enjoyable Grand Tour that I’ve ever done.”
“I’m going to La Vuelta to try and get the best result possible for the team. It will be nice to go for some stages and the general classification as well, and I intend to just see how I’m doing after the first half of the race.”
“It’s going to be a cracking field. (Juan) Ayuso’s one of the leading young riders around at the moment. Remco (Evenepoel) as well, (Primoz) Roglic too and possibly (Joao) Almeida, so that’s the whole podium of the Giro. Jonas (Vingegaard) is apparently also participating, so it’s going to be a star-studded Vuelta peloton,” Thomas explained.
“What motivates me is knowing that all the best guys are going to be there, so the goal is to go and do my best and hopefully come out on top, but it’s certainly going to be tough. The bigger the challenge the more excited you get and the more you want to put into it and try to do well.”
In support of Thomas, the team is sending a line-up featuring Egan Bernal (Colombia), Thymen Arensman (Netherlands), Jonathan Castroviejo (Spain), Omar Fraile (Spain), Filippo Ganna (Italy), Laurens De Plus (Belgium), and Kim Heiduk (Germany).
A key support rider for Thomas in the mountains will be Bernal, who has already won the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia. The inspirational rider played a key role for his team during this year’s Tour de France, an incredible effort from the Columbian after his miraculous comeback from a major accident and potentially life-changing injury he sustained in 2022. It will be his second appearance in the Vuelta, having finished sixth overall in 2021, and his Grand Tour-winning experience will be invaluable for the rest of the team.
Spanish fans will be thrilled to see the climbing talents of six-time national time trial champion Jonathan Castroviejo slot in alongside Omar Fraile. The former is also powerful in time trials, the latter has won stages at both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. He also won the Best Climber Competitions in La Vuelta in 2015 and 2016. The duo shares eleven La Vuelta starts between them and will go all in for the team in their last race of the 2023 season.
Dutchman Thymen Arensman finished sixth in last year’s La Vuelta a Espana and his success included claiming the victory atop the Sierra Nevada in the Queen Stage of the race. The talented 23-year-old impressively also finished sixth overall in this year’s Giro d’Italia while working as a key member of the high-mountain support for Thomas. Belgian rider Laurens De Plus, who played a similar starring role for Thomas in May’s Giro will look to impress once again following his Giro d’Italia performance.
Former World Time Trial Champion, Hour Record holder and gold medalist track star Filippo Ganna will make his La Vuelta debut. The Italian had a great start to the year with a successful Classics campaign, but his early season was cut short when he was forced to abandon the Giro d’Italia because of a Covid-19 infection. He since returned to winning ways in the Tour de Wallonie and went on to claim medals in the recent Cycling World Championships in Scotland.
Young German talent Kim Heiduk completes Ineos-Grenadiers’ selection for La Vuelta a Espana 2023 and will make his Grand Tour debut in Spain. The highly promising 23-year-old will be looking to make his mark over the three weeks as he hopes to take the next big step in his career.
Stay tuned to Roadcycling.com for coverage from La Vuelta a Espana 2023.
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