Vuelta a España gains dispensation for three Spanish wildcards

SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA SPAIN SEPTEMBER 05 A general view of Lennard Hofstede of Netherlands Steven Kruijswijk of Netherlands Robert Gesink of Netherlands Sepp Kuss of United States Primoz Roglic of Slovenia red leader jersey Nathan Van Hooydonck of Belgium Sam Oomen of Netherlands and Koen Bouwman of Netherlands and Team Jumbo Visma celebrate winning on the podium ceremony in the Plaza del Obradoiro with the Cathedral in the background after the 76th Tour of Spain 2021 Stage 21 a 338 km Individual Time Trial stage from Padrn to Santiago de Compostela lavuelta LaVuelta21 ITT on September 05 2021 in Santiago de Compostela Spain Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo MorenoGetty Images
Primoz Roglic won last year's Vuelta a España (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

The Vuelta a España has been granted permission by the UCI to invite an additional wildcard team in 2022, meaning that Spanish ProTeams Euskaltel-Euskadi, Equipo Kern Pharma and Burgos-BH will all line out in this year’s race.

Alpecin-Fenix and Arkéa-Samsic had already secured automatic invitations as the best placed ProTeams in the 2021 UCI rankings, meaning that there will be a total of 23 teams at the start of the Vuelta in Utrecht on August 19.

The dispensation from the UCI has allowed the Vuelta organisation to invite three of the four Spanish ProTeams, with Caja Rural-Seguros RGA missing out on selection. Caja Rural have been fixtures at the Vuelta sine 2012, but they are replaced by debutants Kern Pharma on this occasion.

The Vuelta organisation acknowledged in a statement on Monday that the race could not feature more than 22 teams in 2023.

"This derogation is only applicable for 2022 and under no circumstances will it be possible to make this request for 2023," read the statement.

The number of wildcards at the discretion of race organisers has decreased in recent years, with the two best-placed teams in the UCI rankings now earning automatic entry to the following season’s Grand Tours.

As in 2021, Alpecin-Fenix have accepted their invitations to all three Grand Tours this season. Arkéa-Samsic opted against lining up in the Giro d’Italia, a decision that allowed RCS Sport dispense three discretionary wildcards. As anticipated, the Giro organiser has invited the three Italian ProTeams, Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè, Eolo-Kometa and Drone Hopper-Androni Giocattoli.

French squads Team TotalEnergies and B&B Hotels-KTM were awarded the two remaining wildcard slots at the Tour de France.

The 2022 Vuelta takes place from August 19 to September 11 and, like this year’s Giro and Tour, it will begin on a Friday and feature an additional rest day due to its start on foreign roads. 

Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Remco Evenepoel (QuickStep-AlphaVinyl) are among the riders to have already signalled their participation, while Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) could also race in search of a fourth successive overall victory.

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