[This text was created prior to the start in Calella and has not been revised since.]
Second last year, but with wins in the Tirreno-Adriatico, Tour of the Basque Country and Vuelta his performance throughout 2014 was spectacular, despite crashing out of the Tour de France. This year, however, he has bigger fish to fry and aims at winning the Giro-Tour double. Strong season debut in the Vuelta a Andalucia!
The first Froome/Contador clash of the season was in the Vuelta a Andalucia with Contador being strong but Froom being even stronger. The Briton bested El Pistolero by 2 seconds in the overall. That might seem nothing, but it was enough. Promising for the upcoming season.
His big break came in the 2014 Giro. This year Aru leads Astana in his home-race and as the start at the Ligurian coast is six weeks after Catalunya, the 24-year old Italian should be in good form. In the 2014 Vuelta both Contador and Aru were at the start, with the old master besting the young talent by 4’48” in the overall. What did the winter do for the talented rookie? His first race Paris-Nice turned out to be quite a disappointment – Aru finished 24’48” down on winner Richie Porte.
Kick-started 2015 by winning the Colombian time trailing championships. Just like Aru and Contador, the Giro is his next goal. Odds are Catalunya is merely a preparation-race, but when the giants names are sleeping, the Colombian is smart enough to take advantage. Being 28 years of age, Uran is in the prime of his life.
Tejay van Garderen
In 2014, the American’s pre-season alternated between stage wins plus podium (Volta a Catalunya) and invisibility (Paris-Nice). Peaking in La Grande Boucle by finishing fifth seemed to become his master-piece that year, until he went on to race to World Champion TTT with his BMC-buddies. Van Garderen is BMC’s leader since Cadel Evans´ retirement.
By winning the overall in the 2014 Critérium du Dauphiné, the 26-year old American benefitted big time from Contador and Froome only watching each other. It was his finest moment of last season. Why not do something similar again?
Bad luck pursued the 2013 Catalunya-winner last year, crashing out of Liège-Bastogne-Liège (in winning position) and the Giro. After a seemingly lost season he recovered brilliantly with winning the Tour of Lombardy.
The 34-year old Spaniard is one of the few riders in the pack delivering strong performances the whole year round. This resulted in him winning the 2014 UCI WorldTour individual ranking. In 2009, he took the GC in the Volta a Catalunya.
Young riders to watch: Romain Bardet, Wilco Kelderman, Carlos Betancur.
Volta a Catalunya 2015: Route/profiles and more
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