Spanish sports paper Marca has a scoop on the team invites for the Vuelta a Espana. 22 teams will take part, of which 16 were known in advance: Spanish squads Caisse d’Epargne, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Footon-Servetto, plus the following foreign outfits: Columbia, Liquigas, Astana, Rabobank, Omega Pharma, Cofidis, Lampre, Quick Step, Milram, Saxo Bank, Ag2r, Fdjeux and BBox-Bouygues.
The following three teams have been picked by the organisers: Xacobeo-Galicia, Andalucía-Cajasur, as well as Team RadioShack. Which leaves three places up for grabs. It means the organiser will have to pick from the likes of Pro Tour Katusha and Garmin-Transitions as well as, Vacansoleil with the energetic Hoogerland and the likes of Androni-Diquigiovanni and Cervélo Test Team.
A three week Tour for one-day riders
Whilst a big race in its own right, the Spanish tour is increasing being used as a tune-up for the World Championships. Riders go for the mileage and race-pace intensity and so an invite is essential for anyone hoping to feature in Australia. It’s ironic that this mountainous grand tour is increasingly becoming the choice of time trial specialists and one-day contenders. David Millar has already said he wants to go to Spain and thinks this time contenders for the rainbow jersey will have to finish the Vuelta, rather than drop out mid-race. So the result of the Worlds could potentially hang in the balance of race organisers Unipublic.