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Esteban Chaves, Hugh Carthy, and Rigoberto Urán lead EF Education-EasyPost into the Vuelta

August 16, 2022

Esteban Chaves, Hugh Carthy, and Rigoberto Urán will lead EF Education-EasyPost in the race for the red jersey at the Vuelta a España. 

From the flatlands of the Netherlands, where the Vuelta is set to start, over Spain’s explosive climbs, to the finish three weeks later in Madrid, Esteban, Hugh, and Rigo will count on strong teammates in their general-classification hunt. James Shaw and Julius van den Berg will keep them at the front of the peloton and out of the wind, while climbers Jonathan Caicedo, Mark Padun, and Merhawi Kudus will lead them to the cruxes of the Vuelta’s steepest mountains—and seize opportunities to go for stage victories themselves.

“With Esteban, Rigo, and Hugh in the team, we have three riders who have been on the podium in big tours,” says EF Education-EasyPost sports director Juanma Gárate. “We want to do a good GC with them.”

Esteban is looking forward to his first grand tour in his EF Education-EasyPost shirt. 

“It’s been some time since I have ridden a Grand Tour, and this one is a special one,” Esteban says. “I’m excited to start La Vuelta. It has always treated me right, and we have a very good team this year. It will be my first grand tour with EF Education-Easypost. This makes me a little nervous, but on the other hand, it also gives me a lot of motivation, and it encourages me to ride the best I can. We have Rigo, Hugh, and me for the GC, and we will never discard a chance for a stage win, not only with us three, but also the rest of the team.

Juanma thinks that Esteban might surprise a lot of fans.

“I really want to see what Esteban can do,” Juanma says. “This year is a big change for him. He has changed teams, changed trainers, changed bikes. He has had to work hard to get back to his level. He is in a good way. I think he is going to be good.”

Rigoberto Urán will start the Vuelta just a few weeks after finishing the Tour de France. He is hungry to show that he is still one of the best bike racers in the world.

“Let’s see with Rigo,” Juanma says. “He didn’t have a good Tour de France, and now he wants to do a good GC at the Vuelta. It is hard to do two tours in a year, but he is professional.”

Rigo is ready. 

“I wasn’t in my best shape at the Tour and at the beginning of the season with some bad days and crashes, so I need some luck,” Rigo says. “Now, I feel good, motivated. Not only that, I’m excited to start La Vuelta because I know there won’t be a lot more opportunities for me at my age. The Vuelta is the only grand tour where I haven’t won a stage or been on the podium. After the Tour, I felt strong, and have been training a lot at home, so I’m in good shape. Hugh’s good, Chaves too. When I go to a Grand Tour, it’s because I feel good, and because I want to give my best for the team.”

For Hugh, a good ride at the Vuelta will mean a lot.

“Hugh had a confirmation during the Giro that he is back for GC,” Juanma says. “He finished the Giro with an impressive ride on the last day on the Marmolada. His morale is high. During our last races in Spain, I saw that his level is getting better and better. He is going to be ready for the Vuelta. He is on a good track.”

The Spanish grand tour is close to Hugh’s heart.

“For me, personally, the Vuelta is a special race, because my career began in Spain, and my first grand tour was the Vuelta back in 2016,” he says. “My ambition is to try and do a good GC. Above all, I want to have a good performance and do my best as always. I like this year’s course. It has a wide variety of stages and a unique feel, starting in the Netherlands. It should be an exciting three weeks.”

It sure should. The Vuelta kicks off Friday in Utrecht with a team time trial. After two more stages in the Netherlands, our team will head south to Spain to race over some of the hardest climbs the sport of cycling has ever seen, under the full heat of the Spanish sun. It’s the final grand tour of the year, but might be the most difficult. Esteban Chaves, Hugh Carthy, and Rigoberto Urán are riding for GC. That doesn’t mean we’re going to be conservative. At this Vuelta, we’re going to attack.

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