Vuelta a Burgos 2016 – Overall Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Vuelta a Burgos 2016 – Overall Preview

By David Hunter

Preparation for the Vuelta Espana is now in full swing and plenty of the big guns are here. Due to the Tour of Poland being moved forward in the calendar, Burgos is the only race for riders wanting to fine tune their level before the last grand tour. As usual it’s a mix of terrain, but the organisers have decided to return to just the one mountain stage.

Stage 1Burgos 1

The race opens with a nice easy sprint stage. Nothing much happening until the last 5km. The last kilometre is slightly uphill, but we’re only talking around 2%.

Stage 2Burgos 2

Next up is the TTT. It’s short, at 10.7km, but putting a climb into the stage is cruel. TTTs are hard enough, but a climb really does test out the squads. Some will really suffer and shed riders too early.The climb is short but it’s very steep. Naughty organisers!

Stage 3

Burgos 3

Should be another sprint but the cat 3 climb with 22km remaining will certainly test the sprinters.

Stage 4

Burgos 4

Uphill sprint time. This is what I think of when people mention Burgos. The organisers can’t get enough of this type of finish. With a final kilometre at 6%, this is one for the puncheurs.

Stage 5

Burgos 5

Queen stage and the usual finish at Lagunas de Neila. Tough, really tough!

Contenders

With just one mountain stage, having a good TTT squad is vital if you want to win the title. There will be big gaps on the final stage, but not big enough to allow a rider to win if they have a bad day on the TT bike.

Ruben Fernandez – having won the race in 2013 and 2014, Movistar would like to take their crown back. Without many of their stellar climbers, Fernandez, should be their chosen rider. The talented 25 year old, had a good time in the Tour of Poland, finishing 6th. That matched his best result of the season, 6th in the Tour Down Under. The winner of the 2013 Tour de l’Avenir, is a serious talent.

Michele Scarponi – the experienced Italian was unlucky not to win last year, finishing just 2 seconds behind teammate Rein Taaramae. After a truly magnificent Giro, Scarponi helped Miguel Angel Lopez to win the Tour de Suisse. He then had a well earned rest! He’s now building for the Vuelta, so might not yet be at 100%. Anything near his best will be good enough to finish very high.

Matvey Mamykin – the young Russian rider seems to be building his form nicely. He finished 3rd in the 2015 Tour de l’Avenir, also winning a mountain stage. As Burgos is viewed as a “smaller” race, it allows some of the younger riders a little bit of freedom to go chasing results. It would be good to see Mamykin allowed to ride for himself and a place on the GC.

Sami Sanchez – another experienced rider. Seems like we have a mix of young and old in this race! The Spaniard has been quiet for a while, but remember his brilliant performance in Pais Vasco, winning a stage and finishing 6th on GC. BMC are always great in TTTs, so expect Sanchez to have an advantage going into the final stage. He knows what it takes to win here, claiming the title back in 2010.

Simon Yates – should start the race as the favourite. He’s picked up some top form, after completing his ban. He won Ordizia, was 7th in San Sebastian and 2nd in Getxo. He is a sensational climbing talent and seems to have the best form of all the riders competing. Orica are a great TTT squad, plus the Bury boy will hope to finish high on stage 4.

Sebastian Henao – another youngster who will be looking to get a chance to ride for GC. Riding for Sky ensures a good TT day, so the Colombian will have a chance. Looking at the quality of some of his rivals, he’s going to find it tough to win this race. A top 10 would be a success.

Gianluca Brambilla – 6th place in San Sebastian was a huge result for the Italian. After enjoying a brilliant Giro, taking a stage win and a spell in the pink jersey, he had a well earned rest. The result in San Sebastian shows that he already has good form. Etixx are one of the best TT teams, so he’ll be in contention going into the final day. Not often thought of as a pure climber, the appearance of just one mountain stage means he has a chance of holding on.

Alberto Contador – after pulling out of the Tour, Contador has set his sights on the Vuelta. It’s impossible to tell how he’ll do in this race! He’ll do a good TTT, so will be in contention going into the final stage. He could easily win the Queen stage by 1 minute, or roll over in 50th position! We’ll just have to wait and see.

Hugh Carthy – the big boy from Preston is back in action! His performances in stage races has been outstanding in 2016. He was 9th in Catalunya, 1st in Asturias and was all set to finish 3rd in Route du Sud until an unfortunate crash. Caja Rural are not the best TT outfit, so he’s bound to lose some time early in the race. For him, it’s all about a good performance in the mountains. Do not be surprised to see him challenging for the stage win.

Floris De Tier – I have been impressed by the climbing ability of De Tier, this season. He has stepped into the void left by many stars leaving TopSport, putting in a number of good performances. He will be looking to finish in the top 10, something I think he can do.

Alexander Foliforov – still has the best performance of the whole season! His win in the mountain TT at the Giro was stunning. Like a few other challengers he has a good record at the Tour de l’Avenir, finishing 4th in 2014. It will be interesting to see how he compares against Fernandez, Mamykin and Yates.

Sergey Firsanov – after a brilliant start to 2016, it’s gone a little quiet for the Russian. He did well in the Giro, but was overshadowed by his teammate. To finish 4th in the mountain TT was also a huge achievement. He will be hoping to find the form that helped him win Coppi Bartali, back in March.

Prediction Time

The winner will come from one of the big teams, no surprises here. I’m looking at a rider who is a brilliant climber, in good form and rides for a team who will do a good TTT. My pick is Simon Yates.

David HunterFollow us on @CiclismoInterJoin us on facebook: Ciclismo Internacional

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