[Article was written before the start of La Vuelta and has not been updated.]
Alberto Contador, Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru are the only riders in La Vuelta who did win the race before. Of this three, El Pistolero is the most successful. He took his homerace in 2008, 2012 and 2014, while Nibali was victorious in 2010 and Aru in 2016.
Chris Froome and the Vuelta a España is a different story. The multiple Tour de France winner never won the race, though his breakthrough came in the 2011 Vuelta. Before that, his only victories were in the Tour of Mauritius and the Mi-Août en Bretagne, and then he powered to a stage win in Spain and finished in second overall. He was runner-up in 2014 and 2016, too. Several times he has proclaimed he really enjoys the race, so you could say Froome has some unfinished business.
Chris Froome needs ITT kilometres to put time into the pure climbers. The route of the 2017 Vuelta takes in one individual time trial of 42 kilometres. The course is fairly flat and bears resemblance to last year’s ITT, when Froome took the win with a 2 minutes lead over the other GC contenders.
Title holder Nairo Quintana skips La Vuelta. No wonder, the Colombian climber contended in the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France.
Favourites 2017 Vuelta a España
***** Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Steven Kruijswijk
**** Alberto Contador, Fabio Aru, Rafal Majka, Miguel Ángel López
*** Wout Poels, Wilco Kelderman, Adam Yates, Romain Bardet
** Simon Yates, Ilnur Zakarin, Bob Jungels, Domenico Pozzovivo, Tejay van Garderen
* Esteban Chaves, Rui Costa, Rohan Dennis, Marc Soler
Vuelta a España 2017: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Stage 9: Cumbre del Sol
Stage 17: Los Machucos
Stage 15: Alto Hoya de la Mora
Stage 20: Alto de l’Angliru