Geraint Thomas will be joined by Egan Bernal and Filippo Ganna in a strong Ineos Grenadiers team for the Vuelta a España, which starts in Barcelona on August 26.
The Welshman leads the team’s overall classification challenge after finishing second overall at the Giro d’Italia in May.
The Ineos team for the Vuelta also includes Laurens De Plus, Omar Fraile, Thymen Arensman, Jonathan Castroviejo and Grand Tour debutant Kim Heiduk.
Thomas’ lone Vuelta appearance came in 2015 when he finished 69th overall, having placed 15th in the Tour de France the previous month. The 37-year-old signaled his intention to target this year’s Vuelta a Rome on the final day of the Giro.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back to La Vuelta. Hopefully it will be better than 2015 – which was horrible – not the most enjoyable Grand Tour I’ve ever done,” Thomas said.
“I will go there to try to get the best possible result for the team. It will be nice to go for a few stages and the GC as well, and just see how I do after the first half of the race.”
Thomas led the Giro into the final weekend but was stripped of the maglia rosa by Primož Roglič in the dramatic Monte Lussari time trial on stage 20.
Roglič will be joined by Tour de France winner Jonas Vingegaard in a strong Jumbo-Visma team in Spain, while defending champion Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) and Juan Ayuso (United Arab Emirates Team Emirates) are also among the contenders for the final overall victory.
“It’s going to be a cracking field,” said Thomas, who warmed up for the Vuelta by finishing 47th in the Tour de Pologne and 10th in the Worlds time trial.
“That’s what motivates you as well, knowing that all the best guys are going to be there, so the goal is to go and do your best and hopefully come out on top. but it will definitely be difficult.
“The bigger the challenge, the more excited you get and the more you want to put into it and try to do well. Having everyone there will make it a great race and the whole team we have prepared for the Vuelta will lift everyone up and motivate them. we’re all looking forward to getting started.”
There is no place in the Vuelta line-up for Carlos Rodriguez, who was seventh overall on his debut a year ago and fifth in last month’s Tour. The Spaniard’s contract with Ineos expires at the end of this year and he has been linked with a move to Movistar.
Bernal returns to the Vuelta for the first time since finishing sixth overall in 2021. The Colombian continues his comeback from life-threatening injuries sustained in a training crash early last year and is just weeks away from the Vuelta after finishing the tour in 36th place.
“I’m very happy to be selected for the Vuelta this year, I’m finishing a good training block at home in Colombia and I feel extremely motivated to get back racing again,” Bernal said.
“When I think back to the beginning of the year, I wasn’t sure where I would be right now. I dreamed of doing the Tour and the Vuelta, so this choice means a lot. As you all know, it’s a long process coming back and I’m so happy that my body has improved so much that I’m going to the starting line of another great three-week race this year.”
As expected, Ganna is also in the Vuelta line-up after pulling out of the Giro with COVID-19.
The Italian won gold in the individual pursuit at the World Championships in Glasgow and took silver in the individual time trial behind Evenepoel.
“I had a good year but it was disappointing to have to leave the Giro due to illness and it gave me extra motivation ahead of the last Grand Tour of the year,” he said.
Ineos for the Tour of Spain (August 26 – September 17): Thymen Arensman (Ned), Egan Bernal (Col), Jonathan Castroviejo (Spa), Laurens De Plus (Bel), Omar Friar (Spa), Filippo Ganna (Ita), Kim Heiduk (Ger), Geraint Thomas (GBr).
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