Bernal, Carapaz, Yates, Pidcock, Sivakov all in Ineos Grenadiers' Vuelta a España squad

NICE FRANCE AUGUST 27 Egan Bernal of Colombia Pavel Sivakov of Rusia Richard Carapaz of Ecuador and Team INEOS Grenadiers during the Team INEOS Grenadiers Training TDF2020 LeTour on August 27 2020 in Nice France Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
Ineos Grenadiers ready for Vuelta a España include Egan Bernal, Pavel Sivakov, and Richard Carapaz (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Ineos Grenadiers have named a star-studded squad for the upcoming Vuelta a España, with Egan Bernal, Richard Carapaz, Adam Yates, Pavel Sivakov, and Tom Pidcock all featuring. 

The eight-man lineup is rounded out by Dylan van Baarle, Salvatore Puccio, and Jhonatan Narváez.

After going into this year’s Tour de France with four potential leaders, the British team will once again face question marks over hierarchy as they head into the Spanish Grand Tour.

Bernal would appear to be their prime candidate, having confirmed his return to form with a commanding victory at the Giro d’Italia earlier in the season. The Colombian subsequently spent time at home before returning to action in the last 10 days at the Clásica San Sebastián and Vuelta a Burgos.

Victory in Spain would make the 24-year-old the eighth rider in history to win all three Grand Tours.

Carapaz, meanwhile, has established himself as one of the leading and most consistent Grand Tour performances in recent years, backing up his 2019 Giro triumph with second place at last year’s Vuelta and third at this year’s Tour de France.

He went on to claim the Olympic Games road race title in Tokyo a fortnight ago and this will be his first appearance as the Olympic champion.

While there may be question marks over Carapaz’s potential to win the race given he targeted the Tour de France, Adam Yates, like Bernal, has had a more tailored build-up. In fact, this is his first Grand Tour since joining Ineos at the start of the year, when it was decided he’d focus squarely on the Vuelta.

Although quiet since returning to action in Tokyo, the 29-year-old had a storming start to life at his new team, winning the Volta a Catalunya as well as finishing runner-up at UAE Tour and fourth at Itzulia Basque Country.

There is a fourth potential GC card in the form of Sivakov, who had to abandon this year’s Giro after five stages. The Russian placed ninth at his first Giro in 2019 but has since had to wait for leadership opportunities. He may have to wait longer but he showcased his form with fourth overall at the recent Vuelta a Burgos, where Bernal was 38th and Yates 96th.

Tom Pidcock can’t legitimately be labelled a GC contender but it’s difficult to rule anything out with the precocious 21-year-old Brit. He had a storming debut to his pro road racing career this spring but since switched to mountain biking to take gold in Tokyo. Now he’s moving back to the road to make his Grand Tour debut, which will be eagerly followed given his potential as a three-week racer, which was hinted at mostly notably with his victory in the U23 version of the Giro last year.

Van Baarle, who rode the Tour de France, will provide all-terrain assistance, while Puccio brings a wealth of experience and Narváez can lend support on the hillier stages.

The selection means there's no place for Daniel Martínez, who finished fifth at the Giro while strongly supporting his compatriot Bernal to the overall title. Eddie Dunbar, Ivan Sosa, and Andrey Amador were all also on the team's initial long list but did not make the final cut, meaning they will all have zero Grand Tour racing in 2021.

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