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Vuelta a Espana

Intermarché-Circus-Wanty aims for the victory in a third consecutive edition

Intermarché-Circus-Wanty will line up for the start of the Vuelta with the aim of conquering a stage win for a third year in a row. This Saturday 26th of August, the World Team will start its third Grand Tour of the season in Barcelona to reach Madrid on Sunday 17th of September.

PARCOURS
Ten of the 21 stages finish on altitude, including the finishes on top of the mythical Tourmalet (Pyrenees) and the Angliru (Asturias). The 3153 kilometers are divided in seven mountain stages, six stages in the middle mountains, six flat stages including two with an uphill finish, an individual time trial and a team time trial.

Just like last year, the first red jersey will be conquered in a 14.6 kilometer team time trial through the centre of Barcelona. After a second stage around the Catalan capital, the peloton heads towards Andorra for the first of five unprecedented uphill finishes on ski resort Arinsal.

Next, the peloton heads back through Catalunya towards the Valencia region, where a finish on top of Javalambre (stage 6) and just after the top of Xorret de Catí (stage 8) await and towards the Murcia region for a finish on top of Caravaca de la Cruz (stage 9).

A flight brings the riders on the first rest day to Valladolid for a flat time trial of 25 kilometer. From this capital of the Castilla y Leon region the peloton follows the direction of the Pyrenees, covering a finish on top of La Laguna Negra (stage 11).

The French border is crossed in the beginning of stage thirteen to climb the Col d’Aubisque, de Spandelles and du Tourmalet (2115m, 17km at 7.4%). The riders return to Spain the next day, covering two other French hors catégorie Pyrenees giants and the Port de Belagua. 

In the final week, after the second rest day, the peloton first follows the Cantabrian coastline before heading towards the gruesome slopes of the Angliru (1558m, 12km at 10%) at the end of stage seventeen. Just like in the Pyrenees, the finish on this mythical climb in Asturias is followed by a second mountain stage.

Before the winner of the Tour of Spain 2023 is welcomed in the traditional criterium in Madrid, the riders will battle on the penultimate day on a classics parcours with ten hills of third category and over 4000 climbing meters, the longest stage of this Vuelta (208 km).

SELECTION

Rein Taaramäe, stage winner and red jersey wearer in the first participation of Intermarché-Circus-Wanty to the Tour of Spain 2021, is part of the selection for the third consecutive time and will start his nineteenth Grand Tour. Another experimented personality in the group, former world champion Rui Costa, will line up for his sixteenth Grand Tour in a country in which he won three times this season and in which he recently improved his best result in the Clásica San Sebastian.

Belgian sprinter Gerben Thijssen, winner of three Belgian classics this season, will participate in the Tour of Spain for the third time, supported by his sprint train composed of Boy van Poppel, Julius Johansen and Hugo Page. The Dutchman van Poppel, who already started in eight Grand Tours, is his lead out. Danish rider Julius Johansen made a strong impression last year by concluding his first Grand Tour with a stunt in Madrid.

Two riders will make their Grand Tour debut, young talents Rune Herregodts and Hugo Page. Herregodts distinguished himself on the highest level with a stage podium in the Critérium du Dauphiné and a bronze medal at the Belgian time trial championship. Page just took his first professional victory in the Tour du Limousin.

Author of an exceptional season start, Belgian rider Kobe Goossens obtained his first two successes as a professional rider on Spanish territory in January. In his second Vuelta, the climber returns in competition for the first time since the Tour de Romandie in April, liberated from the health problems who impeded him from participating to the Tour de France, like his compatriot Herregodts. These eight riders will be directed by Valerio Piva and Pieter Vanspeybrouck.

"The main goal for our third Vuelta is to win a stage, like we did in the two previous editions. Therefore, we created a balance between youth and experience within our team. With Rui Costa, Kobe Goossens, Rune Herregodts and Rein Taaramäe, we have four offensive elements capable of realising our ambition in the middle mountains, they have proved it. With Gerben Thijssen, we have one of the fastest sprinters in the peloton. His sprint train will focus on all possible sprint opportunities and will help him to pass the difficult stages." "Rui Costa will line up in a good condition. With his eighth place in the Clásica San Sebastián he has shown that the Tour de France has been good for him. Rein Taaramäe also prepared himself well and will be, once more, of great value for our team. Our two experimented riders will play a key role, on and off the bike to guide our youngest elements through those three weeks." "After a long period with health issues, Kobe Goossens is again producing promising performances in training. We're happy to have him back, ready to return into competition in this Vuelta to make the team colours shine on the attack. Rune Herregodts has shown in the Critérium du Dauphiné that he was capable of achieving big things on the highest level. He can benefit of the total confidence and support of the team to show himself in the stages he identified as opportunities."

"Our group of climbers will benefit of a lot of liberty to race aggressively, because unfortunately we are heading to the Vuelta without our GC leader Louis Meintjes. It is a serious spanner in the works, Louis was our stage winner last year, but the collarbone fracture he sustained in the Tour de France prevented him from presenting himself at the start in good shape. I'm convinced that we will see him shining in the difficult classics at the end of the season." "The pure sprinters such as Gerben Thijssen probably have to wait until the seventh stage for the first bunch sprint opportunity. With Boy van Poppel, Julius Johansen and Hugo Page he can rely on three riders he knows very well to bring him in the final kilometers. A couple of days before his first Grand Tour, Hugo Page received a big confidence boost in the Tour du Limousin. Our youngest rider in our selection is a true asset in case of a sprint on a hilly parcours."

"I prepared this Tour of Spain with the ambition of winning a stage, just like two years ago. I feel fresher and stronger than on the eve of the two previous editions, thanks to less intensity in my preparation. My personal ambition is also the main goal of the team. For several months we've been struggling with a wave of bad luck. This is also the case at the start of this Vuelta, with the absence of our leaders Louis Meintjes and Gerben Thijssen. But our identity is to never give up. All eight riders will battle each day to reach the victory. My role will also be to guide Rune Herregodts and Hugo Page, who participate in their first Grand Tour. This is a role I share with Rui Costa and Boy van Poppel. I feel very good mentally and I'm extremely motivated to make the colours of our team shine!"

"After the Tour de France and the Clásica San Sebastián in which I showed a good level, I took a week of rest before starting my preparation for the Vuelta in Portugal. My main goal is to win the first stage of my career in La Vuelta. My desire to race aggressively, like I did in the Tour, remains unchanged. I'm very motivated to achieve my goal and the one of the team. With the Tour in the legs and a good preparation, I feel capable of showing nice things."

"After missing the Tour de France, I wasn't certain to recover from my health problems in time to participate in this Vuelta. Mentally it was a very difficult period. Luckily, all of a sudden things changed and my health condition enabled me to resume training this summer. I also quickly made progress in training, so I went to Andorra where I increased intensity. Even though it's been four months since I last pinned a number, my performances in training make me believe in my capabilities of winning a stage. I studied the parcours of this Vuelta in detail and I concluded that there are many opportunities for riders with my profile. I only have to pick the right day. Together with my teammates, we will seize each opportunity."

"My preparation for this Tour of Spain was perfect. After an altitude camp in July, I raced the Tour de Pologne before working on the final details in another training camp. I can't wait to get started. The Vuelta is known for its many breakaway opportunities. In my opinion, the first opportunity for a breakaway to survive could be on the third day towards Andorra. I identified several difficult stages which could be interesting for me to attack. I have the full confidence of the sports direction in my plans. For the other stages I'm ready to help my teammates. This first Grand Tour will be crucial for my development. These three weeks will be a learning process, not only physically. I have a lot of confidence in our staff and my experienced teammates, who will advise me in terms of recovery for example."

"On paper we had the fastest sprinter of the peloton in this Vuelta, with Gerben Thijssen. He was our major asset to win a stage with the team. We are extremely disappointed to loose our leader just before the start. Consequently, our strategy for the sprints will slightly change. In addition to being the protected rider for the difficult stages ending in a group sprint, I will also receive the support of the team in the four flat stages for pure sprinters. After my victory in the Tour de Limousin, my first succes as a pro, I can't wait to start my first Grand tour. It will be my first race of more than one week. I'm curious to know how my body will react. These three weeks will have a positive impact on my future. I had a perfect preparation with an altitude camp with the team and races in Poland and Limousin, I feel ready."

RESULTS

General Classification

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