The Vuelta a España has published its five wildcard invitations for 2015, with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Cofidis, Team Colombia, Europcar and MTN-Qhubeka all present for the race start at Porto Banus on August 22.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA and Cofidis are the most predictable of the five invites to go with the 17 World Tour squads which automatically have an place on the 2015 Vuelta’s starting grid.
The only ProContinental team in Spain, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA have been part of the Vuelta’s line-up since 2012, when the race began in their home city of Pamplona. Cofidis have regularly taken important wins in the Vuelta, most memorably in recent years during the period when the now retired David Moncoutie racked up four straight titles in the King of the Mountains category. They are also a longstanding co-sponsor of the Vuelta.
Team Europcar, when part of the World Tour last year and MTN-Qhubeka, riding a Grand Tour for the first time, both turned in creditable collective performances at the Vuelta a España 2014, a factor which could well have influenced in their second straight selection.
Colombia are perhaps the biggest surprise. This is the first time the squad created in 2012 and directed by veteran Italian manager Claudio Corti will take part in the Vuelta and comes after the disappointment that they did not get a much-hoped-for invite to the Giro d’Italia for a third straight year.
Colombia have raced in various other top Spanish races over the years. Their most notable performances have been in the Vuelta a Burgos, where they won the hardest stage in 2012 and also including the Volta a Catalunya - which they will take part in again this March.