Frenchman Warren Barguil starts the 2017 Vuelta a Espana looking to continue his Tour de France success and momentum at the Spanish Grand Tour. The 25-year-old Sunweb rider won two stages, the mountains classification and was awarded the combativity prize at the Tour all while finishing tenth overall.
The Vuelta will be the fourth of Barguil's career after his breakout 2013 debut when he won two stages. He returned the next year to finish eighth before turning his attention to the Tour for the next two seasons. Barguil lined out for last year's race but was forced to withdraw due to illness.
The Vuelta is the last Grand Tour Barguil will race with Sunweb as he is moving to the Fortuneo-Oscaro from next year and the Breton is aiming to go out on a high with a stage win.
"The high and mid-mountain stages suit me well. I like La Vuelta, it's a race where I generally perform well and I like the atmosphere, everyone is more chilled than on the Tour," said Barguil. "I'm pondering losing time early to enjoy more freedom later on. Wilco (Kelderman) is there for the general classification and we'll have a better vision after three days. I'll help him as much as I can and then I'll aim for a stage victory."
Barguil has kept fresh since the Tour with just one day of racing between the Grand Tours.
"I got some good rest after the Klasika San Sebastian. I had a party to celebrate my Tour de France results and reset everything to start fresh again," Barguil said. "I didn't put on weight, I maintained a good line of conduct. It was already established before the Tour that I would race La Vuelta to get to another level physically and we never changed our mind."
The Vuelta starts in France with a team time trial, but on stage 3, Barguil and the climbers will have their first chance at a stage win in Andorra. There are 14 hilly or mountainous stages of the race but down in overall elevation from 2016. However, Barguil sees the route favouring his characteristics and believes Sunweb can add to its Giro d'Italia victory and Tour success at the Spanish Grand Tour.
"It's a beautiful route, with less mountain than last year - there's 10,000m elevation less - but it allows attackers to make it to the finish on several occasions. We have different cards in our hand. To achieve as much as we did on the Giro and the Tour would be amazing for the team. We have young riders. Some are riding their first Grand Tour. It's exciting."
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