The 2023 Vuelta a Espańa comes to a close in Madrid
Read our riders’ thoughts from the finish of the Tour of Spain
Finishing a grand tour remains an immense athletic achievement
Congratulations to Marijn van den Berg, Andrea Piccolo, and Sean Quinn, who today rolled into Madrid for the grand finale of the Vuelta and finished their first three-week race. It is no secret that we wanted more from this Tour of Spain. Although Andrea wore the red leader’s jersey early in the Vuelta and Marijn knocked elbows with the fastest sprinters every time a stage came down to a bunch kick, we are leaving Madrid without the victory that we came for. That’s bike racing. Our grand tour rookies and their teammates, Hugh Carthy, Stefan Bissegger, Jonathan Caicedo, Diego Camargo, and Julius van den Berg raced hard right to the bitter end. From Barcelona to Madrid, across 3,153.8 kilometers of rugged terrain, including cols such as the Tourmalet and Alto d’Angliru, they rolled out each day and went for it. They got stronger as the race wore on and learned more about themselves and each other. Next time that they start a grand tour, they will be better for it.
This evening in Madrid, they raced to the last meter.
Read our riders’ thoughts from the close of the 2023 Vuelta a España.
I didn't know what to expect from my first big tour. I didn't know what was waiting for me. In the end, it started in the best way for me and for the team. We did a nice TTT the first stage, finishing third, but the best moment came the day after. The second stage, for me, will remain unforgettable. I managed to wear the leader's jersey at the end of the stage, and for me it was a great emotion, shared with the whole team. Then, in general it was a good Vuelta for me. I felt good throughout the race and tried to take advantage of the opportunities that were given to me in some stages. I will go home from this Vuelta with a lot of experience and a lot of great work done during these three weeks that I hope will lead me to find a good legs for the last Italian races of the season.
It was a very hard and difficult Vuelta. I was present in a couple of stages and even came close to a win. I’m happy with that. We’ve also had a couple of top tens with MVDB. The team has been very active in the breakaways, but it has also been very difficult with such a strong Jumbo, who’ve been controlling in the mountains and taking opportunities to go for stages. Same with Remco. He’s been in the breaks, where I might have had a good chance. They are just in another category. We’ve been constantly in the fight and on a mission, and I’m going home happy that we never gave up trying until the last moment.
Personally for me, it has been a nice Vuelta. The motivation has been there since the first day we started and we tried to continue with it for the whole race. We fought and we tried. The course was hard enough, but Jumbo made it even harder. I’m happy with my result and that we never stopped trying. That’s what I take home with me.
Before my first Vuelta, I could not really expect how it would be, as I had not ever really raced in Spain, so I did not really know how the roads would be, but I think we started very well, with a good team time trial and then with Piccolo becoming the leader the next day. But, personally, I’m a bit disappointed with how it went. I didn’t have the form I was hoping for, nor the legs.
Eleventh in the TT was not what I expected, so I’m not really happy with that. I also realized I don’t like steep climbs. Flat ones are better! But, in the end I enjoyed it. I had a good time.
My first grand tour was a nice experience, I think. We had a great group of guys and all eight made it to Madrid, which is a success in itself. Of course, we hoped for a stage win and maybe a good GC position with Hugh. I was humbled with the level of the guys here. I know that I was on a stage against the best of the world, but I really thought I didn’t have the physical form this year, and it made me realize how far I am from where I want to go. I hope I can take that as a learning tool, more than a ‘crushing defeat’ for this winter. It was a humbling experience, but a good one, and a necessary step for my development. The only downside was the weather. When I was told I was going to the Vuelta, I expected some nice sun. In the end, that is what it is. We got to ride with Andrea in the leader’s jersey and that is something I will never forget.
It has been a disappointing Vuelta for the team, I think, but overall there have been some good points. We started very well with the team time trial and then Andrea picking up the red jersey. Marijn has done some good sprints and we have featured in a lot of breakaways, but I think overall we expected more and we wanted more. From the personal side, I am a bit disappointed. I had some illness and a few ailments, so it has not been the ideal race, but I think as a team we can say that we did some good things, especially with the younger riders so it is not all bad. The last week has been difficult but we have come through it.
Julius van den Berg
Again, this Vuelta was an interesting one. Of course, the beginning was great for the team, with a third place on the TTT, which was very exciting, and then we tried for the sprints with Marijn, and he was a few times pretty close. He missed a win when he crashed in the last corner on stage four. That was unfortunate, and then we were unlucky with winning stages in the mountains, which did not work out. It was a Vuelta with some ups and some downs.
Personally, I had very good legs in the first week. I could help Marijn in the sprints, which was good. I felt pretty good overall.
Marijn van den Berg
It was a hard Vuelta, and I am really happy that I made it to Madrid. There have been some ups and downs, but I was not always in the best shape. I was kind of sick for a few days and I struggled with that quite a bit in the mountains, and the last few days I have been getting better. My third place was a nice result. Unfortunately, I crashed of course in stage 4 where I really thought I could take the win, but it is what it is.