7 Young Riders & Outsiders To Watch At La Vuelta a España 2019


– The final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a Espana kicks off
this weekend in Torrevieja. And by now we’ve spoken
about the big-name riders to watch in our preview show and who we think will be
wearing the red jersey come the final stage in Madrid. Basically who we’ve given
the kiss of death to. So, I thought it’d be a great idea to look at some of the
up-and-coming young riders who you should be keeping an eye on and watching during this year’s Vuelta. But before I do, make
sure you subscribe to GCN if you haven’t already and
also click the little bell icon so that you get a notification every time we upload a video. Including our Vuelta highlights which we’ll be doing during the race. (relaxed electronic music) First up is Tadej Pogacar. The Slovenian from UAE Team Emirates, might well be the
youngest rider in the race at just 20 years old. But he’s genuinely a podium contender. He shot in our collective
conscious last year with a stunning win at
the Tour de l’Avenir. And that allowed him to join
the World Tour for 2019. And it didn’t take him long to settle in as back in February he
won the Volta Algarve. Pogacar backed that up with the GC win at the Tour of California, and
then the youth classification at the Itzulia Basque
Country and Tour of Slovenia. Now, the big question
hanging over the 20 year old is, at such a young age,
will he have the endurance for a three week race? Well, either way he’s a
genuinely exciting prospect and he’ll surely be
challenging for the win on some of the toughest summit finishes (relaxed electronic music) Sergio Higuita, the Higuita
Monster as he’s known, may have only competed in two races for EF Education First, but
he did only join the team at the end of May. But he’s already made a huge impact. In the Tour of California, he finished a very impressive 2nd place after narrowly missing
out on the Queen stage at Mount Baldy after he
took the final corner a little bit too wide. And then, in the tour of Pologne, he finished in impressive 4th place after some really strong
and consistent riding. In the Vuelta, Higuita
will most likely ride in support of Rigoberto
Uran’s GC campaign. But you can expect him to be
one of the last riders left in the high mountains with
Uran, along with the team’s other Colombian climbing
sensation, Daniel Martinez. (relaxed electronic music) Fabio Jakobsen, the 22 year old sprinter from Deceuninck-Quick-Step has had an incredible season in 2019. He won his first race of the year, the stage one of the Volta Algarve, and then he won his second Scheldeprijs, a race that he’s only competed in twice, two out of two, fair play. And then he topped that off with a win in the Dutch National Road
Race championships as well. The Vuelta will be Jakobsen’s
first ever Grand Tour and he’ll be up against some
tough sprinting opposition in the form of Sam
Bennett, Fernando Gaviria, and the on form Luka Mezgec. But he will be able to count on a super strong lead out from Quick-Step. But, should he lose the lead out train, his incredible victory on stage three of the Tour of Turkey shows he’s more than capable
of fending for himself. (relaxed electronic music) Sepp Kuss. This will be the young
American’s second Grand Tour of the season, having been
drafted in last minute to Jumbo-Visma’s Giro squad to replace an injured Robert Gesink. You can expect him to resume his role as one of Primoz Roglic’s
key mountain lieutenants. And, with Jumbo-Visma
looking like the team to beat at this year’s Vuelta, you can expect to see a lot of Kuss. However we hope that he gets the chance to race for himself on a few stages and perhaps show some of
that scintillating form he displayed at the
Tour of Utah last year. Where he won no less than three stages and took the overall win. (relaxed electronic music) James Knox. The 23 year old Cumbrian climber could be a really exciting
prospect at this year’s Vuelta. His Deceuninck-Quick-Step team is set up for sprints and stage wins, meaning that Knox could have free reign to target the stages he wants, which will invariably be
in the high mountains. Now, he first displayed
his climbing prowess and talent back in the 2017 Tour l’Avenir where he took a 2nd place on stage seven behind no less than Egan Bernal. Aside from the disappointment
of the Giro d’Italia where he was forced to
withdraw on stage 13 because of a knee injury, Knox has had a quietly impressive season with a string of top 10s
in World Tour stage races. And these results have
clearly impressed the team as they’ve renewed his contract
for a further two years. And you can expect him to repay the faith the team has in him with some good results on some of the hardest mountain stages. (relaxed electronic music) Mark Padun. Now, Bahrain-Merida have
had to change their plans at the last minute for the Vuelta a Espana after Domenico Pozzovivo,
their main GC hope, suffered a nasty crash in training and will now miss the race. They’ve shifted their primary focus to stage wins and are also
taking the young Slovenian as a potential GC result. Padun has had a quiet
year through suffering from tendonitis in his knee
but this hasn’t stopped him picking up some great results. In just his second race back from injury he won his national
time trial championships and recently he won the overall at the Adriatica Ionica Race. And all this means that he
has to be added to the list of great young GC hopes
who seek to challenge the established GC riders at the Vuelta. (relaxed electronic music) Oscar Rodriguez. Now it’s fair to say
that, prior to stage 13 of last year’s Vuelta, not many people had
heard of Oscar Rodriguez. However, that all changed
on the brutal summit finish up to La Camperona. Where, aged just 23, Rodriguez caught, and then dropped, both Rafal Majka and Dylan Teuns to take the first professional
win of his career. It’s been a quiet year for Rodriguez with few big results to talk about until the Vuelta a Burgos. He came a very close 2nd place behind team Ineos’s Ivan Sosa and finished ahead of the 2019
Giro winner, Richard Carapaz. Now, time will tell
whether or not he decides to target the GC or stage wins, he certainly looks to be coming
into form at the right time. Right, so that’s my list. It’s by no means conclusive and I’ve probably missed off
loads of amazing young riders so let me know down in
the comments section who I should’ve included and why. I look forward to reading your comments. And also, head over to the GCN shop where you can get some Spain themed merch. Like this rather smart hoodie. And if you haven’t already you can watch our Vuelta preview show
which is down here. And don’t forget, we’re going
to have Vuelta highlights daily on the GCN Racing channel.

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