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Spanish Stew: How the Vuelta a Espana GC contenders stack up

  • By Andrew Hood
  • Published Aug. 22, 2013
  • Updated Oct. 30, 2014 at 5:29 PM EST
Samuel Sánchez is still without a contract after the failed Euskaltel/Alonso deal. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com

Carlos Betancur (Ag2r La Mondiale)

Age: 23
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.

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FILED UNDER: Analysis / Vuelta a España TAGS:

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood has covered every Tour de France since 1996 and has been VeloNews' European correspondent since 2002.

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