Nairo Quintana tipped to pip Froome and Contador at the 2016 Vuelta a Espana
The final Grand Tour of the 2016 campaign gets underway on Saturday as the Vuelta a Espana takes centre stage in Spain. The 21-stage race starts with a team time trial in Ourense before embarking on a gruelling three weeks of action that includes ten summit finishes and concludes in Madrid on 11th September...
- Alberto Contador won the Vuelta a Espana three times (2008, 2012, 2014)
- Alejandro Valverde won the Vuelta in 2009
|20th August - 11th September||Odds||Won/Lost||Bet|
|Vuelta a Espana|
|Tips||Nairo Quintana to win Best Bet||@ 4 / 1|
|Alejandro Valverde (each way)||@ 25 / 1|
|Tejay van Garderen (each way)||@ 66 / 1|
The course looks to be suited to the pure climbers and it is no surprise to see three-time Vuelta winner Alberto Contador at the head of the betting (9/4 with Betfred). The Spaniard is looking to add to the titles he won in his homeland in 2008, 2012 and 2014, with the 33-year-old perhaps one of the fresher riders around as he withdrew from the Tour de France following a couple of crashes and the Tinkoff man also missed the Olympics before winning the Vuelta a Burgos in Spain last week.
Team Sky's Chris Froome has plenty to do as he bids to win the Vuelta for a first time as the three-time Tour de France winner heads to Spain off the back of a gruelling summer that obviously saw him win a third Tour and a bronze medal in the time trial in Rio.
It will be an almighty ask for Froome to rouse himself again but the Brit has unfinished business with this race after finishing runner-up twice (2011 and 2014) and being forced to withdraw from last year's race with a fractured ankle. It would be dangerous to write off the 31-year-old and he is 3/1 second-favourite.
Like Contador, Nairo Quintana should be relatively fresh as he skipped the Olympics to focus on the Vuelta and we fancy the Colombian is a real danger on a course that should suit his style. The Movistar rider has been in good form as he finished third at the Tour de France despite struggling with allergies and he has enjoyed a decent year on Spanish soil, wining the Volta a Catalunya and finishing third in the Tour of the Basque Country.
Quintana, who produced a career best effort to finish fourth at the Vuelta last year, is a 4/1 shot with Betfred.com and he heads our betting shortlist.
Quintana is joined in the race by his Movistar teammate, Alejandro Valverde (25/1), who is bidding to become only the third rider in history to top-ten in all three Grand Tours in a season after finishing third at the Giro d'Italia and sixth at the Tour de France.
The Spaniard has a decent recent record in this race, finishing runner-up (2012), third (2013), third (2014) and seventh (2015) in his past four appearances, and the 36-year-old obviously demands respect.
Meanwhile, Esteban Chaves won two stages en route to finishing fifth last year and the Orica-Greenedge star can be backed at 13/2.
The Long Shot
Finally, Tejay van Garderen (66/1 with Bet 365) is perhaps someone who could sneak under the radar this year as the 28-year-old American should be the lead rider for Movistar as Richie Porte isn't in Spain and we are backing the BMC Racing Team star to come to the fore.
Van Garderen finished a respectable 29th at the Tour de France following a tough year or so with injuries and we fancy he could be ready to peak in time for the Vuelta.
2016 Vuelta a Espana Odds
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