For each stage of La Vuelta, the Rouleur panel of ‘experts’ will give their picks for the following day’s race. Top tipster Cycling Mole, meanwhile, will dismantle our choices and give his own prediction for the likely winner. In a change to last year’s rules, selection’s don’t have to be unique. Who’s going to take risks? Who will play it safe? Most importantly of all, who will come out on top?
Ian Cleverly: Daniel Felipe Martínez – Team EF
Another stage, another fail. None of us had Pogačar down to win in Andorra, but at least we got second with Quintana, so we’re getting closer. This time-trial should be easier to predict. That said, it goes up, down and round the bend (this is the Vuelta after all) so expect the unexpected. I’m throwing the Colombian TT champion in the mix, just in case Roglič has an off day.
Andy McGrath: Nelson Oliveira – Movistar
Picking Roglic? Boring! Obvious! Sad! I’m going full Nelson. The climbs on the route play into his hands and, let’s face it, we should expect the unexpected from Movistar.
Nick Christian: Tony Martin – Jumbo Visma
Although all things being equal, Roglič is probably the best time trialist in this field, he does not have the best record when they come mid-way through a GC campaign. He looks to be better off this time than either the Giro back in May or last year’s Tour, and though I think he’ll do well, I’m doubtful he’ll do as well as his team-mate. My only worry is the German is going to soft pedal around the course, like he did the last time he was in Pau.
Ben Ward: Primoz Roglič – Jumbo Visma
As I’m not a journalist, I have very little insight or acumen to offer. So although it hasn’t helped so far, I am going with the obvious pick again on this one. The way Roglic has been climbing he’s surely got enough to hold off any Alaphilippe-esque surprise rides.
Eurosport’s Rob Hatch: Primoz Roglič – Jumbo Visma
The waiting room in A&E isn’t where I’d hoped to be making the stage 10 prediction from, but despite coming off my bike, and my face taking the brunt of the bang (many will say it’s an improvement), I think I’ve still got enough sanity to go for Primož Roglič. Today he’ll win and take time on GC rivals.
So, I correctly predicted it was going to be a GC day. I correctly avoided López, but still lost out with my Quintana pick. La Vuelta is starting to frustrate me. We head into France and it’s TT day. I’m not too sure what’s going on at Rouleur HQ, but I sense that they’ve been trying to recreate their old student days. The picks of Martinez, Tony Martin and Nelson Oliveira are so far off the mark I’m actually struggling to comprehend what’s going on.
Maybe it was the rest day barbeque, maybe it was the tight cardigans, maybe it was too much beard oil. Poor old Rob, he’s not enjoying this experience and now he’s throwing himself off his bike in order to earn sympathy. Despite landing on his head, he still knows who’s going to win this race, as does Ben.
Verdict – Primož Roglič, innit?
Rob Hatch is commentating on the 2019 Vuelta a España in the English language for Eurosport International