Young Line-Up Forces Out INEOS Odds at Vuelta a Espana
Team INEOS will have no big favourite at this year's Vuelta A Espana, after revealing a line-up full of youth, with joint-leaders as big as 35/1 (+3500) to win the season's final Grand Tour.
The British outfit, formerly known as Team Sky, won cycling's three-week test with Chris Froome in 2017, but saw last year's leader Michal Kwiatkowski finish out of the top 10, having held the leader's red jersey for three earlier stages.
This year when the race begins on Saturday, August 24, leadership duties will go to legendary domestique Wout Poels and rising British star Tao Geoghegan Hart, who made his Grand Tour debut in the Vuelta last year.
The pair are outsiders for the overall victory in the Vuelta A Espana betting at 35/1 (+3500) apiece to win. It is an unusual position for Team INEOS to be in at a Grand Tour, but sport director Nicolas Portal believes they will make more of an impact than their odds suggest.
Vuelta Odds Belie Team INEOS Strength
Team INEOS took their youngest-ever roster to the Giro D'Italia in May, and one of their most experienced to the Tour de France.
There, Poels was instrumental in the victory of young Colombian Egan Bernal, and of great assistance to defending champion Geraint Thomas, who gave INEOS a one-two.
Poels has now been freed to ride for himself at the Vuelta, while nurturing his co-leader Geoghegan Hart on a race that gave him one of his finest victories: the mountainous stage up the Angliru in 2017.
Nicolas Portal said: "The opportunity for Tao to learn from Wout as they lead our team is a special one, and we have faith that both of them can leave their mark on this Vuelta."
They will be joined by 26-year-old Welshman Owain Doull, making his Grand Tour debut, former stage winner Kenny Elissonde, and Vuelta first-timer Sebastian Henao.
They will also have at their service Salvatore Puccio, who was pivotal in Froome's 2017 win, Ian Stannard, also on Froome's service that year, and Vasil Kiryienka, who will be riding his 20th Grand Tour.
Portal added: "We are also delighted for Owain, who is riding his first Grand Tour for the team. He's been building up to this moment and it;s a great opportunity for him to ride alongside the likes of Ian and Vasil over the next three weeks, as he takes the next step in his career."
Who is Vuelta A Espana Favourite?
Jumbo-Visma have revealed one of the strongest line-ups for the Vuelta Espana, including the ante-post favourite Primoz Roglic and Tour De France third Steven Kruijswick.
Roglic, the 9/4 (+225) market-leader, was also sent off favourite for the Giro D'Italia back in May, only to finish second to Richard Carapaz, who re-opposes and is among the leaders for Movistar.
Carapaz is again fancied to overpower Roglic, despite the rider's diligent preparations at altitude in Spain's Sierra Nevada. The Movistar rider's odds are no bigger than 7/2 (+350) with the best bookies, making him the team's number one in the Vuelta betting.
However, the Spanish operation also has former winner Nairo Quintana, who came to form late in the Tour de France, and World Champion Alejandro Valverde. Both are big prices at 20/1 (+2000) and 18/1 (+1800).
As for Kruijswick, his Tour de France podium was hard-won and required monumental efforts from his team. He is 12/1 (+1200) to go two better at the Vuelta.
Bookmakers make Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez second-favourite to win at 100/30 (+333), South Americans having won 2019's two other Grand Tours.