Cyclist’s Vuelta a España 2022 predictions

The last Grand Tour of the year is here in the shape of the Vuelta a España, and you know what that means. 

Cyclist’s predictions are BACK, with office bragging rights up for grabs. 

From the coveted red jersey to best climber, points classification winner and best young rider, we try our hand at predicting three weeks of hard racing that began in Utrecht on 19th August and ends in Madrid on 11th September.

Robyn Davidson, Editorial Assistant 

Stuart Franklin via Getty Images

General classification: Primož Roglič, Jumbo-Visma

Yeah, yeah, I know. An obviously predictable choice. But should his back injury be a thing of the past and crashes somewhat avoided, the three-time Vuelta a España defending champion is in with a solid chance of winning for the fourth year in a row.

A typically stacked Jumbo-Visma team are in the wings ready to guide their leader through the Netherlands and around Spain for three weeks, including Robert Gesink, Sepp Kuss and Mike Teunissen.

Given the TTT start in Utrecht, could Jumbo-Visma hold the red jersey in their team all the way to Madrid? Probably not, but it is being passed around the team, from Gesink to Teunissen and now Edoardo Affini.

Points classification: Kaden Groves, BikeExchange-Jayco

It’s hard for a sprinter at the Vuelta because the climbs never seem to stop coming. If they do, you have ten minutes to recover until a high-altitude finish.

But Kaden Groves has enjoyed a steady season with Team BikeExchange-Jayco, winning points classifications at both the Volta a Catalunya and Tour of Estonia but enduring a quieter Tour de Pologne in preparation.

Mountains classification: Ben O’Connor, AG2R-Citröen

Don’t sleep on Ben O’Connor. It would probably be uncomfortable.

The Australian was forced to pull out of the Tour de France this year through injury and is now aiming for a podium spot at the Vuelta a España, which will go hand-in-hand with the mountain jersey unless a determined breakaway rider keeps snapping up the points.

Young rider classification: João Almeida, UAE Team Emirates

In challenging for the overall, João Almeida – who only just turned 24 – will haul himself into the young rider’s jersey at the Vuelta a España.

He’s been doing the ‘oh, I don’t know if I have the legs’ talk ahead of the race, which we all know means he has the legs.

Team classification: Ineos Grenadiers

They won’t win the overall, but Ineos Grenadiers will snatch the team classification. Thank god, because clearly they need the money.


Good Grand Tours for Thibaut Pinot and Esteban Chaves. Perhaps some #DeGendting as a treat. Thanks.

Will Strickson, Deputy Web Editor

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno via Getty Images

General classification: João Almeida, Team UAE Emirates

All this talk about Primož Roglič, Remco Evenepoel and Richard Carapaz has allowed one man to go under the radar. But as we’ve seen from him time and time again, once you’ve forgotten or ruled out João Almeida, that’s when he re-enters the frame looking more dangerous than ever.

To beat former teammate/leader Remco, save UAE Team Emirates’s season and save Portuguese cycling will be one hell of a way to win your first Grand Tour. Bota lume.

Points classification: Mads Pedersen, Trek-Segafredo

With a slimmer field of sprinters than the Tour de France, Mads Pedersen is going to feature a lot more in the top few placings on flat stages.

But Mads isn’t just a sprinter and a graphic designer, he can climb pretty well and he’ll surely get in a breakaway or two over the three weeks to nab some extra points the bigger lads won’t go for.

Mountains classification: Esteban Chaves, EF Education-EasyPost

It has lined up perfectly for the best smile in cycling to win here.

EF Education-EasyPost love the KOM competitions, because racing is all about marketing not UCI points, and the big Spanish climbs will be just right for Chaves not to stick around in the overall but be able to do damage on key stages.

Colombians do well at altitude so I’m expecting a big win in Sierra Nevada.

Young rider classification: João Almeida, UAE Team Emirates


Team classification: Ineos Grenadiers

When you come to the Vuelta with 12 leaders you’re bound to have a few hanging around the top 15 to win the team classification.


Having come so close in the opening stages, a massive win for Dan McLay, plus stage wins for the departing Vincenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde.

Martin James, Production Editor

Benjamin Cremel via Getty Images

General classification: Simon Yates, BikeExchange-Jayco

Forget his disappointing Giro exit earlier this year – the older Yates twin has had a quietly impressive 2022, racking up wins in admittedly smaller races alongside a pair of stage wins during the aforementioned Giro.

He’ll need to avoid the frustrating inconsistency that has seen him typically have at least one bad day in the GC stakes during Grand Tours, but if he manages it he’ll be well placed to repeat his overall win in 2018.

Points classification: Sam Bennett, Bora-Hansgrohe

Bennett had five stage wins already at the Vuelta going into the 2022 race, and has already bagged two more, so clearly goes well at the Spanish Grand Tour.

Plus having skipped the Giro and Tour this year, he’ll potentially be fresher than his sprint rivals, which could make the difference in converting opportunities into stage wins over a tough three weeks, hoovering up plenty of points in the process.

Mountains classification: Richard Carapaz, Ineos Grenadiers

Carapaz typically goes well at the Vuelta and is one of the best climbers in the pro peloton when he’s on form. 

A lot will depend on how serious his GC ambitions are, but should he slip away from fighting for the overall win he could easily pivot to focus on the climber’s jersey, potentially picking up a stage win or two in the process. 

He’ll certainly have plenty of mountain stages to choose from this year.

Young rider classification: João Almeida, UAE Team Emirates

A slightly underwhelming showing at the Giro suggests Almeida remains a couple of components short of the finished article, but he’ll get there. Grand Tour success will surely arrive at some point, but in the meantime he remains a hugely promising young rider and an obvious choice to win the white jersey.

Team classification: Ineos Grenadiers

Having multiple riders capable of finishing on the podium invariably means none of them will stand on the top step, but no other squad comes close to Ineos’ strength in GC depth.


Both Chris Froome and Alejandro Valverde will win a stage, because why not? But both will also fail to finish the race.

For all our Vuelta a España coverage, check our hub page.

Main image credits: Tim de Waele via Getty Images.