The 2023 La Vuelta a España got underway on the 26th of August, and on the 17th of September we will find out who the champion is. As always, there are plenty of top cyclists taking part this year but in our opinion there are only a handful of true contenders for the crown. If you are into cycling betting and have a sports betting bonus to make use of, the following information could be extremely useful.
A Closer Look at This Year's Edition
Like the Tour de France and the Giro D’Italia, this Grand Tour has a total of 21 individual stages - the leader of the race wears a red jersey, so you should have no issue picking him out. Although the Vuelta has a similar format to the races in Italy and France, it has its own identity.
The route, which is changed each year, in recent editions has become known for its challenging climbs, meaning that sprinters who excel in time trials and flat races have few opportunities to land a stage win. The 2023 edition has not swayed away from the mountains - even two of the flat stages have uphill finishes. With six hill stages and seven mountain stages, this year’s route favours the climbers.
The Potential Champions
Now let us take a look at the potential contenders for the title. If we were thinking about betting on the outcome of the 2023 Vuelta, these are the cyclists that we would be drawn towards.
The Belgian won the 2022 edition of this race, and stood a good chance of winning the 2023 Giro but he had to pull out as he caught Covid-19. Last year, Evenpoel was expected to come out on top in the time trials and limit his losses in the mountain stages. As foreseen, he easily won the time trials but he did much better during the mountain stages which saw him run away with the title.
The only individual time trial for 2023 is just 25km, so he will not have much of a shot at pulling out a lead that he can defend. Therefore, he will need to excel in the mountain stage once again and sprint for time bonuses using his power. If he can do all of this, he will certainly become a contender.
The Slovenian has won the Vuelta no fewer than three times, and his speciality is sprinting for important time bonuses atop of mountains. He won the 2023 Vuelta a Burgos with ease - at times it looked like he was just having a leisurely cycle through his local park. His form is very solid at the moment, and he has a strong team behind him that can help push him to more success in the cycling world. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
The Dane has won the Tour de France for the last two years and, in the eyes of many, he is the best Grand Tour cyclist on the circuit at the moment. However, his form was unknown heading into the 2023 Vuelta, so some cycling betting punters might think that it is a bit of a risk putting their money on him to win. If, however, he does perform to the best of his ability, it would be no surprise if he went on to do the Tour-Vuelta double.
The Spanish cyclist’s main aim of 2023 has always been to win the Vuelta, so he will probably consider the season a failure if he does not achieve this feat. His 2023 did not get off to a great start as he had to content with a niggling injury, but he still went on to win the time trial stage in the Tour de Romandie and even finished in second place in the Tour de Suisse.
He is very quick during the time trials and very good when it comes to climbing, but we think it will be a huge challenge for him to get past the riders that we have already mentioned above. His form heading into the 2023 was also relatively unknown as he had not raced in August.
The Portuguese cyclist used to have his limitations during long climbs and at high altitudes but he is now a much steadier rider and has improved his stamina considerably. With these improvements, he will definitely be confident in putting in a really solid performance to challenge for the title.
However, the pressure is on Almeida to perform in this race because there is congestion in his team - if he does not get a good result, he could find himself losing his spot on the team. Will he thrive off this pressure or wilt under? It will be interesting to find out over the course of the race.