Following the first week of racing, the 2020 Vuelta a Espana has been very exciting and entertaining. From competitive racing to bad weather, this Grand Tour has not disappointed.
Riders got their first rest day on Monday, October 26th, and there’s a surprise in the standings. Team Ineos’ captain Richard Carapaz sits first in the GC standings after a crazy Stage 6, which saw rain, cold temperatures and the cracking of Team Jumbo-Visma.
Prior to the stage, Primoz Roglic and the rest of his Jumbo-Visma riders were ruling the race. However, Sunday’s Stage 6 proved catastrophic for the entire team. Roglic currently sits 4th in the standings roughly 30 seconds back. The Top 5 riders are all within 67 seconds of each other.
Vuelta a Espana betting sites have released updated odds for the overall race winner. Let’s take a closer look at these odds, compare them to the pre-race betting lines, and see if there’s any reason to pick a different red jersey winner for the 2020 Vuelta a Espana.
According to cycling betting sites, these riders are the odds on favorites to win the Vuelta a Espana following one week of racing:
Primoz Roglic (-187)
After one week of racing, Roglic remains the betting favorite. However, despite being 30 seconds back of the race leader, his betting odds have actually gone down. Prior to the Vuelta, Roglic was a +150 favorite. Now, he’s an even larger betting favorite at -187.
Roglic won the opening stage of the Vuelta and was runner up the next two stages. The controversy is with Stage 5 where he finished 4th. Dan Martin crashed and the officials gave the leading group of GC contenders the same time.
That decision wiped out the time gap that Roglic had on his competitors. In other words, he might only be down 20 seconds instead of a half minute.
I do have some concern for Roglic following Sunday’s showing. He was left behind by the GC contenders and the rest of his team was nowhere to be found.
It’s been reported that he had issues with a zipper on his jacket and that’s what caused him to lose time. We’ll see following the rest day if it was a zipper or if it was his conditioning.
Richard Carapaz (+350)
I was high on Carapaz prior to the start of the Vuelta and he has not let me down. The Team Ineos leader has looked as strong as Roglic and is clearly one of the favorites to win this race.
I’m surprised that Carapaz actually has a 30 second lead over Roglic and sits on top of the GC standings 18 seconds ahead of Hugh Carthy. Carapaz had finished behind Roglic on every stage except for Sunday’s Stage 6 where he took the red jersey from Roglic.
Prior to that, Carapaz has had three Top 4 finishes and four Top 10 results. His odds coming into the Vuelta were +650. Currently, he’s listed at +350 odds and the second overall betting favorite. There’s still value with Richard especially since he’s leading the race.
One thing is for certain, his Team Ineos was up for the challenge of Jumbo-Visma and Movistar. This is the best that Ineos has looked in all three Grand Tours after their embarrassing performance in the Tour de France and their forgettable performance in the Giro d’Italia.
Enric Mas Nicolau (+650)
Currently, Mas is in 5th place overall at 67 seconds back of Carapaz. He’s been able to keep up with Roglic and Carapaz through the first week and still has plenty of opportunities to make up lost time.
Mas finished 6th on the first three stages, but slid back some after Stage 6. He’s definitely a podium contender and is now the leader of Movistar which also features Valverde and Soler.
Heading into this Grand Tour, Mas was listed at +1000 odds. After one week of racing through Spain, Mas has seen his odds shrink to +650. There’s still plenty of value to be had with the 25 year old Spaniard.
Sepp Kuss (+950)
For the first five stages, Sepp Kuss looked like the best rider out there. In fact, if he were on a different team, he probably would’ve been at the top of the GC standings. Following Stage 5, Kuss was sitting 6th overall.
His overall racing made Kuss a trump card for Team Jumbo-Visma to play in the mountains. They could send Kuss on the attack and crack Roglic’s rivals. If they didn’t follow Kuss then he would be able to break from the contenders and take the overall race lead.
Unfortunately, Kuss had a bad Stage 6 and fell 17 spots all the way down to 23rd overall. He’s now just under 10 minutes back of Carapaz and has no real shot at winning the Vuelta.
What’s a bit baffling to me is that Kuss’ odds have been cut in half after the first week of action. He was at +1800, but is now +950 despite being 10 minutes back. I don’t think the oddsmakers fully grasp what’s going on in Spain.
As much as I like Kuss, he should be avoided. The American will help Roglic contend for the red jersey and might get a stage win along the way.
Dan Martin has certainly surprised the field and pundits. He wasn’t even considered a realistic pre-race favorite. But, after one week of racing, he currently sits in 3rd place just 20 seconds back of Carapaz.
Martin has three Top 3 results in the first week including winning Stage 3 where he outsprinted Roglic and Carapaz to the uphill finish.
At +1000 odds, Martin definitely offers value as he’s a serious threat to finish on the podium and to challenge for the red jersey competition.
The Best Vuelta Value
Other than Dan Martin, the biggest surprise has to be Hugh Carthy (+2000). The 26 year old Brit wasn’t even considered to be the outright team leader for EF Pro Cycling, but has raced well over the first week.
He currently sits 2nd overall, just 18 seconds behind Carapaz. Carthy has finished in the Top 8 on four of the six stages including Stage 6, which hurt other contenders like Roglic.
Carthy’s best Grand Tour result came in the 2019 Giro d’Italia when he finished 11th. This year, he was 37th at the Tour de France. There have been no indications during the 2020 season that Carthy would be a GC contender at the Vuelta.
Yet, not only is he a realistic contender for the red jersey, he also offers the best betting value at +2000 odds.
Top Longshot to Win the Vuelta
There are certainly other cyclists with larger betting odds that could be considered a longshot candidate, but Marc Soler (+3300) is my choice.
After watching the first week of action, it’s clear that Soler is being used to help his leaders Enric Mas and Alejandro Valverde. Yet, something funny happened along the roads of Spain, Soler won Stage 2 and he currently sits 7th overall at 1:42 back of Carapaz.
Furthermore, he’s just 35 seconds behind teammate Enric Mas and 1:18 ahead of Alejandro Valverde who sits in 10th place overall.
If anything happens to Mas, you can expect Soler to step up as the leader. He has showed good form and is up to the task of riding with the best cyclists in this race.
Who Wins the 2020 Vuelta a Espana?
In my Vuelta a Espana red jersey preview, I picked Primoz Roglic, Richard Carapaz and Enric Mas to finish on the podium. Right now, they’re 4th, 1st, and 5th respectively. Yet, along with Dan Martin, and Hugh Carthy, they look like the best riders in this race.
Of those three podium finishers, I picked Primoz Roglic to win the Vuelta. With that in mind, I am sticking with Roglic to win.
Primoz Roglic survives unscathed on 'nervous' stage 4 at Vuelta a España
Team Jumbo-Visma had a bad day on Sunday, but shouldn’t panic. Roglic is still within striking distance with numerous stages left that he can win. Furthermore, the time bonuses at the end of each stage could make a big difference as well.
As long as Roglic is within 60 seconds of the race leader when they do the mountain time trial on Stage 13, he should still win this race. Only his teammate Tom Doumilin has a better shot at winning that stage.
I also remain steadfast in my podium picks. I don’t see Carthy remaining at the top of the standings after three weeks of this level of racing. Additionally, Dan Martin tends to fade in the high mountains.
Vuelta a Espana Winner –Roglic (-187)
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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