Wiggins: 'La Vuelta is tough and unpredictable... but I don't regret not winning it'
Eurosport expert Sir Bradley Wiggins knows just how tricky and unpredicable La Vuelta can be - and he is proud of his one podium finish there.
"I’m pleased to have been on the podium once at the Vuelta," he said. "I don’t lose any sleep at night because I didn’t win the World Tour, for sure."
He says that La Vuelta is always likely to be unpredictable because of the mix of riders returning to racing after a mid-season break.
"The weather is always really good, it’s very tough from the start so on day two and three you could have the GC pretty much undecided but you know who is going to be up there," he said. "There is no pattern to the race, there are very tough short stages, the climbs are predominantly steeper than any other Tours and it is a lot more relaxed race as a whole compared to the others, certainly the Tour de France and the media circus. The Vuelta is like a holiday camp really compared to that.
"It’s definitely the most relaxed of the three Grand Tours but every one of the Grand Tours has its own difficulties - the Vuelta is a very tough race from the point of view of the steepness of some of the climbs they find to finish some of the stages on."
"I think on paper you would say that’s how it’s looking to be shaping up but in cycling, as we’ve seen this year really, anything can happen, crashes or just the form guide really," he explained. "I would never discard Valverde either, he is so consistent over the years - oldest man in the race and I think he is going to be ever-present as World Champion, riding the Vuelta as World Champion of Spain, I think it doesn’t get much better for a Spanish rider."