In recent editions of the Vuelta a Espana, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA has been the sole Spanish Pro-Continental team invited to the Grand Tour. In 2018, Burgos-BH and Euskadi-Murias will also line out at the three-week race as wild card entrants. To differentiate itself from their Spanish rivals at the 2018 Vuelta, Caja Rural is a targeting the stage win that eluded them since 2012.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA won the mountains classification with Omar Fraile in 2015 and Luis León Sánchez the year prior and have also enjoyed a number of combativity prizes since its 2012 debut. The team's presence in breakaway's also drawing attention to their place in the Vuelta. For Caja Rural's general manager Juan Manuel Hernández, the invite from Unipublic confirms they have not gone unnoticed but wants more success in 2018.
"For the seventh (sic) consecutive year we will be back at the start of the Vuelta a España and we would like to thank Unipublic for its confidence once again in Caja Rural-Seguros RGA," Hernández said of the run started in 2012. "For us it is very important that they value the philosophy of the team, perhaps even more after the season 2017, when the results did not arrive as the two previous years, although we trust that they will arrive again. We will keep the same character as always, as in the last edition of the race, when the team was in 14 breaks from the 19 route stages that were held."
The challenge for 2018 though is to win a stage and the team will be selected in order to achieve its objectives.
"Being back to La Vuelta allows us to focus the season with a great goal and at the same time to continue with our work with the projection and the development of our youth riders," he added. "We will try to reach August with cyclists who dispute the race at their best shape. Once there, we will look for that stage victory that we don’t get since 2012. This is our main target: to leave a good image and try to win a stage."
Sergio Pardilla was the best-placed GC rider for Caja Rural at last year's Vuelta in 15th place and is likely to again be selected for the race. Guillermo Mas, Rafael Reis, Nick Schultz, Fabricio Ferrari, Antonio Molina, Alex Aranburu, Mauricio and sprinters Yannis Yssaad and Nelson Andres Soto are also likely candidates on Caja Rural's long list.
The Vuelta a Espana starts August 25 in Malaga and concludes September 16 in Madrid. Of the 21 stages, two are individual time trials ensuring a number of opportunities for Caja Rural to take a win via breakaways or possibly in a sprint finish.