Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale)
Vuelta history: First start
Strengths: Perhaps only compatriot Nairo Quintana can get up a climb with as much explosiveness as Betancur. He barnstormed through the spring classics and rode to fifth and the best young rider’s jersey at the Giro to confirm he’s a grand tour rider in the making.
Why he can win: He boasts the fastest finishing kick out of the GC favorites, rivaled only by Daniel Martin (Garmin-Sharp), and could open significant gaps in the final charge to the line in the steepest stages, meaning time bonues could lift Betancur onto the podium.
Where he can lose: With the worlds looking prime for the picking on a course ideal for Betancur in Italy, he might save his matches and give up the GC fight, hunt for some stages, and aim for the rainbow jersey instead.