2022 La Vuelta: Rider Pre-Race Reactions

Ahead of the 2022 La Vuelta start this evening in Utretch, we caught up with some of our riders to get their pre-race reactions:

Kaden Groves – Debut Grand Tour appearance

“We’ve got a good group here and everybody is really motivated for the race. Especially to start it off with a good TTT. We are putting a lot of pressure on ourselves for the TTT as we believe we can do well. I’m here to chase the sprint stage wins, it’s my first Grand Tour but I don’t think that will change the focus, I just have to take every day as it comes. 

Personally, to get through the tour and make the mistakes and take learning steps from doing a Grand Tour will be my goal, but obviously I would love a stage win, and everybody is really keen to get started.”

Kelland O’Brien – Debut Grand Tour appearance
“For me I am really looking forward these first three days in Holland and I am definitely nervous starting my first Grand Tour and in my first year as a professional, but it is going to be an amazing experience and I am looking forward to seeing what it brings over the next three weeks.

It is a dream of mine to be a part of the Grand Tours and with this team it is special, I am ready to soak it all up. Everything has kind of been new for me this year, so racing every day for three weeks will be different but my role here at the race will be the same as it has been at many other races. For team TTT I will be able to use my strengths there and with Kaden, I have been working with him all year, so to help support and deliver him into position with the sprints will be an important role for me.”

Luke Durbridge – Debut La Vuelta appearance
“I’m really looking forward to the Vuelta, it is my first time at the Vuelta, and we haven’t had a TTT to start a Grand Tour for a long time so that is exciting. 

We also have six Australian riders in the team here which is a big contingent and we have a lot of fun at the dinner table, but we are all just ready to get it started now. The TTT is a really big goal for us, we have a really good chance to do well there and to go for the win.

I am also looking forward to working with some young guys, we have two riders in our team that are starting their first Grand Tours so it will be nice to work with them and share a little bit of my experience with them. I think the heat will be a big factor in this Vuelta, there has been a huge heatwave in Spain recently.”

Lucas Hamilton – 3rd Vuelta appearance
“This is my second Grand Tour of the year, so it is a different feeling starting the second one of the season. It will actually be the first time I will do a TTT at a Grand Tour, so of course you need a good strong team as it’s a crucial event not only for the GC but if you win it as a team, it is a very specially feeling. There isn’t really a winning feeling like it. 

As a unit we are always bringing good energy to the races, for me personally I would like to get a stage result along the way and be a crucial part of helping Simon to do his thing. We have a great group of guys and with Kaden and Simon, they are great assets to have on a variety of days and also the TTT, I am really excited about that stage.”

Simon Yates – 2018 La Vuelta Champion
“I haven’t been back since I won in 2018, so it is great to be back and I am excited to get it started. It is always a race that suits me and this year it looks the same. We aren’t coming to the Vuelta just for me, we also have Kaden for the sprints. He is a sprinter that can also climb well so it will be good to see what he can do.

We have a really strong team and enough guys that can do the jobs needed, in my experience at the Vuelta it is not a race that you need a lot of riders in the final, it often comes down to the final climb and who has the legs. We have Lucas Hamilton and Callum Scotson and those guys can climb really well on their day and for me that is enough support. I want to try and get through this first part in the Netherlands safely and then we can see what we can do on the first climbs.”