This year’s Vuelta a Espana gets underway on Saturday 14th August 2021, and here is our preview, along with our expert cycling picks.
The three-week event will be the 76th edition of the race. It is also the third and final Grand Tour of the 2021 men’s cycling calendar.
The race is 21 stages long, with a distance of 3336km. The departure point is from inside the Cathedral at Burgos, with the final stage finishing in Santiago de Compostela in early September.
- Vuelta a Espana 2021
- 14th August – 5th September 2021
- With 21 stages, the Vuelta is ideal for live betting
Who is the Vuelta Defending Champion?
Primoz Roglic is the defending champion. Last year the Slovenian won the race, finishing just 24 seconds ahead of Richard Carapaz of Ineos Grenadiers.
Roglic is going for a hat-trick of wins this year, having also finished in the Red Jersey in 2019.
As well as finishing first in General Classification (GC) in 2019 and 2020, Roglic also topped the Points Classification for both years.
The Favorite for GC this year!
Yes, it’s that man again, Primoz Roglic is favorite to win the 2021 Vuelta a Espana.
The defending champion is the top sportsbooks‘ favorite to make it three out of three. Roglic is +110 to win red again this year.
His current form is a bit patchy.
Roglic endured a tough Tour de France this year. He crashed early on Stage 3 and subsequently retired from the race after losing over 30 minutes to the leaders on stage 8.
Things did improve for Roglic after the Tour. At the Tokyo Olympics, he finished 28th in the Men’s Road race but then tasted success with Gold in the men’s time trial. Roglic won that race by a massive margin of 61 seconds ahead of Dutchman Tom Dumoulin.
With the Vuelta more based around the mountains, I’m not sure the Olympics is going to be much of a form guide though.
|Vuelta a Espana 2021 GC Winner|
|Miguel Angel Lopez||+2100||+2000|
|Enric Mas Nicolau||+2600||+2600|
Who are Roglic’s rivals to win?
Ineos Grenadiers have put together a strong team for the Vuelta, as they look to claim their second Grand Tour of the season.
The Columbian climber has already won the 2021 Giro de Italia with Ineos. And after failing to reclaim the Tour de France earlier this year, Ineos will be desperate to have the consolation of the other two Grand Tours.
Bernal has two Grand Tour victories to his name in total. This year’s Giro, and back in 2019 – when Ineos was called Team Sky – Bernal won the Tour de France.
A win here would give Bernal the career set of Grand Tour victories.
A team ready to 𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙚.
Your INEOS Grenadiers for #LaVuelta21 💥 pic.twitter.com/BXZI2heCkA
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) August 9, 2021
Another Ineos rider in great form and in with a real shout of winning is Richard Carapaz.
The 28-year-old is having a record-breaking season after becoming the first Ecuadorian to finish on the podium in the Tour de France earlier this year.
He then followed that up by winning Olympic Gold in the Road Race at the Tokyo Olympics. With his form from the Tour de France, coupled with his 2nd place here last season, Carapaz looks a great bet to win at odds of +800.
Be careful not to fall into the trap of assuming that Carapaz can’t win, as he is a support rider for Bernal. Ineos don’t work like that!
General manager Dave Brailsford famously let Geraint Thomas take over the team leader role from Chris Froome during the 2018 Tour de France after the Welshman emerged as the stronger rider.
Thomas went on to win that race, and if Carapaz looks to have a better chance of winning in Spain, Brailsford won’t be afraid to throw the weight of the Grenadiers team behind him.
Points Classification Betting
|Vuelta a Espana 2021 Points Winner|
Roglic isn’t the favorite in this particular market for this race. That accolade goes to Arnaud Demare.
The 29-year-old French sprinter has never won a stage before at the Vuelta but does have a Points Classification win at the 2020 Giro d’Italia to his name.
He also has won two individual stages at the Tour de France. One in 2017 and the other in 2018.
Demare is very short-looking in the betting. He is just +150, and with no real pedigree in the Vuelta, I’m not touching him at those odds.
Roglic is +550 to make it three wins from three in the race to be the Points Classification winner. I think that represents far better value.
Whether the Slovenian is in with a chance of winning the General Classification or not, I can’t see him passing up the opportunity to go for three Points Classifications in a row.
At +550, I think that makes for a great pick!
Add the weather to your list of rivals this year!
Yes, the weather in Spain is generally hot at this time of year. But this year is far warmer than usual.
The south of Europe is currently in the midst of a heatwave. As a result, temperatures look set to be in the high 90s for the first couple of weeks of the race. There have even been reports that the mercury will top the 100 degrees mark.
This is going to make it a tougher tour than usual. In these circumstances, having a strong team around you will go a long way to making a difference. This further strengthens the case for the winner to come from one of the Ineos Grenadiers riders.
Don’t forget to visit our cycling betting page for news and betting picks on all the major events.