The Vuelta a España has named the three teams awarded wildcard invitations to this year’s race, with Burgos-BH, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Caja Rural-Seguros RCA all set to ride the Spanish Grand Tour.
The selection means that of Spain’s four UCI Pro Teams, only one, Equipo Kern-Pharma, which is new to the category in 2021, will not be on the startline of the Vuelta a España when the 76th edition of the race kicks off on August 14 in the northern city of Burgos.
The 19 WorldTour teams are assured automatic places and the Belgian-registered Alpecin-Fenix qualified for the final spot in the 23-team Vuelta a España roster as winner of the 2020 ProTeam ranking.
France and Italy have followed similarly patriotic wildcard selection policies, Arkea-Samsic, Total-Direct Energie, and B&B Hotels-Vital Concept will ride the Tour, while Eolo-Kometa, Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè and Vini Zabù made the cut in Italy, with Androni-Sidermec and Gazprom-RusVelo missing out.
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA will take part in the Vuelta a España for the tenth consecutive time in the ProTeam’s history. As for Euskaltel-Euskadi, the invitation represents a significant step forward for the Basque team, given it only returned to the ProTeam category last season after several years as a Continental squad.
“Racing ten years in a row in the Vuelta is a major source of pride and inspiration,” Caja Rural-Seguros RGA manager Juan Manuel Hernandez told Spanish website Ciclo21 on Tuesday. “It’s our most important race of the season.”
“We appreciate the effort the organisers have made to include does, because the current system of wildcard invitations does nothing to benefit any of the ProTeams.”
Burgos-BH’s strong links to the 2021 Vuelta’s start city no doubt assured their place and the team also took a stellar stage win two years ago in the sierras of Toledo at Javalambre with climber Angel Madrazo.
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 Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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