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Matthew Ireland's Vuelta a Espana Tips: Remco Evenepoel to challenge Jumbo-Visma dominance

The Vuelta a Espana doesn't always get the same attention as cycling's other two Grand Tours, the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France, but the cast set to contest the 2023 renewal should ensure all eyes are on Spain for the next three weeks.

The winners of the last four Grand Tours - Jonas Vingegaard, Remco Evenepoel and Primoz Roglic - will all be on the start line in Barcelona on Saturday, and they will be joined by former Tour victors Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal.

Such a line-up should make for a spectacular three weeks of racing and the typically punchy route devised by the Vuelta organisers will only add to the spectacle.

Matthew Ireland's Vuelta a Espana 2023 tips

Remco Evenepoel to win Vuelta a Espana 2023 @ 15/4
Thymen Arensman to finish in top ten @ 11/10
Thymen Arensman to finish higher than Damiano Caruso @ 4/6

Odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and subject to fluctuation.

What2023 Vuelta a Espana
WhereSpain
WhenSaturday 26th August - Sunday 17th September, 2023
How to watchEurosport & GCN+
OddsJonas Vingegaard 1/1, Primoz Roglic 9/4, Remco Evenepoel 15/4, Juan Ayuso 8/1, Enric Mas Nicolau 16/1

Remco Evenepoel to win Vuelta a Espana 2023 @ 15/4

No team has won the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana in the same season, but Jumbo-Visma are going all out to become the first to do so over the next three weeks.

The Dutch superteam have named Giro winner Roglic and double Tour victor Vingegaard among their eight-man Vuelta squad and the pair are the favourites to win the red jersey.

Roglic knows exactly what it takes to win the Vuelta, having secured victory three times in a row between 2019 and 2021, while Vingegaard was in imperious form as he retained the yellow jersey in France by a yawning gap to the rest.

Yet, there is enough doubt about both riders to take them on.

Since 1978, only two riders - Bernaud Hinault and Chris Froome - have successfully completed the Tour de France-Vuelta a Espana double, illustrating just how difficult it is to do.

There can be no doubt that Vingegaard is, alongside Tadej Pogacar, one of the two best Grand Tour racers around at the moment.

However, he didn't target the Vuelta after winning the Tour last year and there is more than a hint of this year's bid being an afterthought as Jumbo-Visma go for history.

Roglic, meanwhile, won May's Giro d'Italia and has raced only at this month's Vuelta a Burgos since, so he should be fresher than the Dane.

However, whether he would have won the Giro had a number of his rivals, chief among them Evenepoel, not abandoned the race for various circumstances, is open to debate.

Matthew Ireland's tip:

Evenepoel was leading the Giro when he had to pull out after testing positive for Covid after taking his second stage win in the first week, and the Belgian was the man to end Roglic's Vuelta stranglehold last year.

The Slovenian withdrew after a crash in last year's race, but he was already lagging behind Evenepoel at that point.

Evenepoel doesn't have the same firepower at his disposal as Vingegaard and Roglic, but he is a natural, instinctive racer who likes to do things his own way.

The reigning Vuelta champion has looked in excellent form since returning after his Giro abandonment, winning the Belgian national championship, Clasica San Sebastian and world time-trial championship.

Like Roglic, he should also be fresher than most and at 15/4 rates the value call to retain his crown and thwart Jumbo's bid for Grand Tour domination.

Thymen Arensman to finish in top ten @ 11/10

Ineos Grenadiers have not won a Grand Tour since Bernal won the Giro in 2021.

Odds of 25/1 about their leader Thomas are a fair reflection of their chances of snapping that duck at the Vuelta, but in deputy Thymen Arensman, Ineos may have a Grand Tour winner of the future.

The Dutch youngster was sixth at last year's Vuelta and filled the same position at the Giro in May, when he showed real glimpses of his potential.

Matthew Ireland's tip:

Depending on how Thomas fares, Arensman may be allowed to ride a GC race and to that end 11/10 quotes about him securing a top-ten finish are worth taking.

He had over four minutes in hand over the 11th-placed finisher at the Giro and should give viewers another showcase of his talents.

Arensman can also be backed at 4/6 in a match-up with Italian veteran Damiano Caruso.

Caruso has finished second and fourth at the Giro since 2021, but he has never really cracked it on four attempts at the Vuelta, with his best showing ninth place in 2014.

Matthew Ireland's Vuelta a Espana 2023 tips

Remco Evenepoel to win the Vuelta a Espana 2023 @ 15/4
Thymen Arensman to finish in top ten @ 11/10
Thymen Arensman to finish higher than Damiano Caruso @ 4/6

Odds displayed were correct at the time of writing and subject to fluctuation.

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