Sound familiar? The Spanish grand tour will see the Dutch outfit bring a strong team featuring defending champion Primož Roglič, Tom Dumoulin and Sepp Kuss to square off against Richard Carapaz and Chris Froome, racing in his final event in an Ineos Grenadiers jersey.
Related: 2020 Vuelta a España teams
The 2020 Vuelta, set to start Tuesday in Spain’s Basque Country under extreme health controls, will also feature a strong Movistar team, with Enric Mas, Alejandro Valverde, and Marc Soler, looking to hit the podium when the Vuelta ends November 8 in Madrid.
Vuelta organizers released the preliminary start list Thursday that also features Mitchelton-Scott, a team that recently pulled out of the Giro d’Italia but vowed to race the season’s final grand tour.
Other top names? Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Michael Woods (EF Pro Cycling), Esteban Chaves (Mitchelton-Scott), with eight of the top-15 from the 2020 Tour among the starters.
Despite being shortened to 18 stages after the opening weekend in the Netherlands was scratched, this year’s course features a heavily mountainous route that will serve up a total of 47 categorized climbs and several summit finishes, including the iconic Col du Tourmalet (stage 6), Alto de l’Angliru (stage 12), and the Alto de la Covatilla (stage 17).
Race officials confirmed that fans will not be allowed to line the course in most of the major summit and transitional climbs, as well as select starts and finishes.
Although the route heavily favors the climbers, the sprinters and punchers will have chances to shine with at least four stages predicted to finish in bunch sprints, including the traditional flat run into Madrid on the final day. Top sprinters include Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe).