Preview: La Vuelta a Espana

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Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will head to the final grand tour of the season, La Vuelta a Espana, with a strong team spearheaded by our South African climber, Louis Meintjes.

The 2018 La Vuelta a Espana gets underway on Saturday 25 August with an 8km prologue in Malaga, riders will then have to complete a total distance of 3254km over 21 stages before reaching the finish in Madrid, on 16 September.

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka will rally around South African, Louis Meintjes, as he targets a top general classification result at La Vuelta a Espana. The tough final week of La Vuelta will certainly suit Meintjes, as his tendency to get stronger as a 3-week tour progresses will be further buoyed by the fact that the queen stage, stage 20, takes place in his home European base of Andorra.

Igor Anton and Merhawi Kudus will be alongside Meintjes in the high mountains, but as the trio proved at the recent Vuelta a Burgos, they are all able to challenge for stage victories on the most difficult of days too.

South African sprinter, Ryan Gibbons will start his second grand tour of the season, and will have free reign on the sprint stages of this years La Vuelta. While the sprinters stage options are limited, Gibbons inclusion ensures our African Team will be in regular contention for top stage results throughout La Vuelta.

Steve Cummings, Ben King and Johann van Zyl will form the backbone of our strong climbing line-up. With 46 summits spread across the 21 stages, the trio will be tasked with laying down the foundation to our overall race ambitions.

Completing our line-up will be Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier. The young Eritrean has been mightily impressive in his first season as a neo pro and starts his debut grand tour, primarily to gain valuable experience, while supporting our protected riders.

Lineup
Louis Meintjes (RSA)
Igor Anton (ESP)
Merhawi Kudus (ERI)
Ryan Gibbons (RSA)
Steve Cummings (GBR)
Ben King (USA)
Johann van Zyl (RSA)
Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier (ERI)

Louis Meintjes – Rider
I am looking forward to this year’s Vuelta a Espana with Team Dimension Data. It’s been a challenging year for the team and for me personally too, but we have worked hard to prepare well and build up nicely ahead of La Vuelta. At Vuelta a Burgos I think we definitely showed that we were on the right track as the entire team was riding really well. With the same team as in Burgos, now heading to La Vuelta, we have some positive momentum going into the race. Certainly, three weeks of racing is a different kind of beast but the goal for me is to be consistent throughout, take advantage when I am feeling good and try to achieve the best GC result possible.

Alex Sans Vega – Sport Director
We have three very difficult weeks ahead of us but this is exactly what we have prepared for. We know La Vuelta always produces some of the most difficult grand tour stages, but that also makes it one of the most exciting races of the year. The team is really motivated to be part of the action and there is the feeling that we definitely have unfinished business with the 2018 season. Louis has been getting better and better, he is a world class rider and grand tours are what he specializes at. We will back him 100% at La Vuelta and we have a strong team to do so.

Image Explained
In 1957 a large black silhouette of a bull appeared on the Spanish horizon, changing the countries landscape forever. Artist Manolo Prieto was commissioned a year earlier by the Osborne sherry company to create an icon for the Veterano brand. What he unwittingly designed was later going to become a part of Spanish modern heritage. In 1994 the EU passed a law prohibiting all outdoor advertising for alcohol. By then the large black bulls with “Veterano” emblazed on them were nationally renowned and a public appeal to the courts resulted in the hoardings being blacked out. The court’s ruling that the bulls had become part of the landscape and have “Aesthetic or cultural significance”, making them public domain.

Keep an eye out as the Vuelta route is sure to pass some of the 91 Bulls scattered across Spain on the way to Madrid