Saturday, 17th October 2020 – 75th edition of the Vuelta will be different in many ways, mostly due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has a huge impact in every industry. Nonetheless, Team Bahrain McLaren is making the best out of it with a strong team to support Wout Poels in General Classification, and Matej Mohorič in stage wins.
The Spanish tour will take off in Irun on Tuesday the 20th of October, and will conclude in Madrid on Sunday, the 8th of November. The legendary Vuelta is, of course, not an exception when it comes to the impacts of the world health crisis – because of the Covid-19 pandemic, for the first time in history, the Vuelta will have only 18 instead of the usual 21 stages and the start will not be in the Netherlands as was planned in the beginning. But, as with everything in sports, we have to take these changes as an opportunity and make the best out of it. So, Team Bahrain McLaren line-up and the strategy were prepared with the same dedication and high goals as with every other race.
Gorazd Štangelj, one of the team Sports Director at Vuelta, says the team is ready for the race: “This year’s Vuelta will be a tough challenge, because of the general Covid-19 situation. Our primary objective in this view will be to keep all of the riders and staff safe and healthy. Another factor that will have a tremendous effect on the race, will be the expected cold, wet, and rainy weather, which is traditional for this part of Spain during this time. But despite all these challenges, we will make the best out of it. In the race, our key objective will be to give enough support to Wout. And I think that despite all the restrictions and the busy calendar we were able to bring together a strong team to do that.”
The race will be extremely mountainous until the 15th stage, with the 6th stage being one of the most striking ones as riders will cross the mountain range to finish atop the Col du Tourmalet in France. Also, the 12th stage will be a brutal challenge. Though just 109 km long it has five categorized climbs, with the steepest sector of 23,5 %, 3 km before the top of the mythical Alto de El Angliru, for many the toughest climb in Spain. Unfortunately, access to both of those passes, together with seven others, will be restricted to the public, due to the current epidemiological situation in Spain.
“The first three stages will be tough, with uphill finishes, so there will be little room for alternative strategies, but later on, the race will be more open and other riders will have their chances to prove their shape,” continues Štangelj. “Mohorič is good at taking opportunities on any race and I am sure that he will find his place also here. Buitrago is a real talent and we’re looking forward to see him on the hills, for Davies and Williams this will be the first race after a long time, so we’ll see what they will show. Inkelaar showed really good performance in Belgium and he will get his chance to do the same in Vuelta. And Wright is one of the most talented young riders in our team and there will surely be a stage or two, where he can show his best.”
Matej Mohorič is feeling good about the race: “My goal will be to win at least a stage. There are a couple of stages that suit me well, 2nd and 5th stage, already in the first week. I felt good in Liege-Bastogne-Liege and I am very motivated to achieve a good result here.” Wout Poels is also looking forward to the start: “I’m always excited about Vuelta, I have some really nice memories of this race. This year is of course different, also very late in the season, but I’m looking forward to it. There will be some tough stages, especially Stage 12 that finishes on top of Angliru. But right now I feel good, optimistic, and ready to go.”
Line-up for the Vuelta 2020: Wout Poels, Grega Bole, Santiago Buitrago Sanchez, Scott Davies, Kevin Inkelaar, Matej Mohorič, Stephen Williams, Alfred Wright.