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Barguil eyes possible return to Vuelta in 2014

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Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) won his second stage of the Vuelta ahead of Rigoberto Uran (Sky)

Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) won his second stage of the Vuelta ahead of Rigoberto Uran (Sky) (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) won stage 13 of the Vuelta a Espana

Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) won stage 13 of the Vuelta a Espana (Image credit: AFP Photo)
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Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano)

Warren Barguil (Argos-Shimano) (Image credit: Fotoreporter Sirotti)

With defending champion Chris Horner not amongst the public at the 2014 Vuelta presentation, France's Warren Barguil was one of the few non-Spanish riders present at the race launch in Cadiz on Saturday.

The Argos-Shimano rider and former Tour de L'Avenir champion won two stages in the Vuelta in 2013, a remarkable debut in anyone's book but particularly after he had a bad crash earlier on in the race. Just 21 at the time, he first took a solo win in blazing heat at Castelldefels then managed to outwit Giro d'Italia runner-up Rigoberto Uran in a two-way battle at the Pyrenean ski station finish of Formigal.

Fast forward four months and Barguil says although he knows where he will be racing until the end of the Classics, the decision on whether he goes to the Tour or re-focussed on the Vuelta again has still not taken - and won't be until late April.

"Everybody wants to do the Tour, but as a French rider, even more so," the talented young climber said as the audience filed out of the Cadiz congress hall where the presentation had been held.

"At the same time, there's less media pressure at the Vuelta and fewer French journalists so for a young rider it could be better there for that reason. But there's lots of factors.

"And I like the Vuelta too, a lot. I know I've got good memories of this race. I can do well there on the climbs and the route is a tough one again. There's not too much time trialling and there are stages which finish" - such as stage 19 - "after a tough climb and a descent, which is really good for me. Ok, so there's no Pyrenees, where I did well last year, but there's still a lot of climbing. And I want to confirm what I managed to achieve last year and prove it wasn't a fluke."

His first race, in any case, will be the GP Marseillaise in early February, with the Tour of Catalonia, the Tour of the Basque Country and the Ardennes Classics coming at the end of a first block of racing in 2014. Only after that will he start to think about the Tour - or the Vuelta.

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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.