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Brits abroad: The five British riders at the 2019 Vuelta a Espana

Joe Robinson
27 Aug 2019

A look at the five Brits racing this year's Vuelta and what to expect from them

Brits descending on Spain in August is nothing new. Most have been doing so for their two week holidays since the mid-1980s. It's usually for a fortnight of fry ups, sunbathing and cabaret acts but for five professional cyclists, it's going to be a scorching three weeks of chomping around the gruelling terrain of Spain for the 74th Vuelta a Espana.

Spain usually brings out the best in us Brits and has definitely done so over the past two years. 

In fact, it has been nothing but utter domination with Chris Froome taking the overall Vuelta victory in 2017 before Simon Yates achieved the same feat 12 months later.

Victory in 2019 would secure a hattrick of overall titles for Great Britain but with no Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas or Yates twins in the race, it's looking unlikely.

Instead, the five Brits on the start line are a mixture of raw youth and earned experience, with a mixture of aspirations for all involved.

The Vuelta is well underway now but here is a reminder of the famous five hoping to make Madrid in three weeks' time.

British riders at the 2019 Vuelta a Espana

Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos)

If anybody was going to make it three times a charm for Vuelta victories, it would have been the 24-year-old from Hackney who takes on the Vuelta as co-leader of Team Ineos with Wout Poels, usual Tour de France super-domestique.

He was afforded leadership duties at the Giro d'Italia back in May but crashed out Stage 13 so is now looking to avenge a disappointing Spring.

However, a bad day on the Cumbre del Sol on Stage 2 saw Geoghegan Hart lose nearly 10 minutes ending his GC race before it had effectively begun. 

A good Vuelta for the youngester now would be a few stages competing with the top dogs in the mountains and possibly a stage victory, too. Apart from that, it may be one to put down as a learning curve. 

Owain Doull (Team Ineos)

A Grand Tour debut for the Welsh Olympic champion, Doull's first taste of three-week racing should be relatively sedate compared to what is usually expected at Team Ineos.

The British team are lacking usual heavyweights on GC and the chances of seeing the Ineos mountain train chugging through the Spanish peaks is pretty unlikely.

Instead, this will probably be a race of education for Doull, learning how to conserve energy, recover at the end of each stage and then do it all again the next day.

If he does recover well and manages to acclimatise to the relentless racing, do not rule out Doull on some of the lumpy finishes if he manages to nick into a breakaway, he has previous as a fast finisher.

Ian Stannard (Team Ineos)

The Essex diesel engine of Ian Stannard gets his first taste of Grand Tour racing since this very race two years ago.

Once the flatland enforcer for Team Ineos in their relentless pursuit for Grand Tour wins, Stannard has fallen out favour and a dip in form no longer sees him as a vital part of the proceedings when the likes of Froome and Thomas are present.

Realistically, three weeks of chomping around Spain are likely to be a personal test for Stannard and whether he can build the form that would earn him selection at the Yorkshire World Championships at the end of September is yet to be seen.

Apart from that, there shouldn't be too much to be expected from the 32-year-old.

Hugh Carthy (Education First)

Genuinely one of the peloton's purest mountain goats, Hugh Carthy is born to race uphill, which is handy considering what the Vuelta has in store for the next 18 or so days.

The Prestonian raced with distinction at the Giro in May, finishing 11th overall and generally just adding excitement to a lot of the stages in the mountains. He then followed this up at the Tour de Suisse with a Stage 9 win that really caught the eye.

Carthy is one-eighth of an Education First that is as a strong a Grand Tour team they have picked in years thanks to the presence of Rigoberto Uran, Tejay van Garderen and Sergio Higuita and, not least, thanks to Carthy's inclusion.

Repeating his GC exploits from the Giro could be tough with Uran knocking about and the fact he has already lost almost two mintues but do not be surprised if we see Carthy take home a stage win. 

James Knox (Deceuninck-QuickStep)

The Cumbrian youngster takes on the Vuelta with the world's best cycling team, Deceuninck-QuickStep

Their main focus will be riding for Fabio Jakobsen on the limited sprint days but that won't prevent rest of the team being allowed their opportunities in the not-so flat days.

Knox will probably struggle to win in the mountains against the very top guys but that doesn't mean he cannot profit in a breakaway later in this race.

Additionally, he races for Deceuninck-QuickStep which basically gives you superpowers when it comes to winning anyway, so do not rule Knox out.

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