THE COFIDIS TEAM
François Bidard, 31, France
André Carvalho, 25, Portugal
Davide Cimolai, 34, Italy
Bryan Coquard, 31, France
Jesus Herrada, 33, Spain
José Herrada, 37, Spain
Ruben Fernandez, 32, Spain
Rémy Rochas, 27, France
It's a new soap opera for all cycling fans, a way of prolonging the joys and torpor of summer. A new edition of the Vuelta kicks off this Saturday in Barcelona, bringing with it images of sun-scorched lands, steep roads and battles for victory. This year, the Tour of Spain will pass through nine autonomous communities, most of them in the north of the country, and the show promises to be on from the very first days.
Jesus and the road to victory
In fact, the first mountain finish is scheduled for stage 3 at the summit of Arinsal in Andorra. In all, there are 7 mountain stages and 6 hilly stages on the programme, including the penultimate stage to Guadarrama, with ten passes in a single day. It's a playing field that could well suit Jesus Herrada during his three weeks.
The Spaniard, leader of the Cofidis team, knows the way to victory at the Vuelta. He has won it twice, in Ares del Maestrat in 2019 and in Cistierna last season. In recent weeks, Jésus has continued his rise to prominence, finishing 6th overall in the Route d'Occitanie, 9th in the Tour de l'Ain and 4th in the Tour du Limousin-Périgord - Nouvelle Aquitaine.
An experienced team, cut out to try its luck
Although this Tour promises to be mountainous, there will be 6 flat stages (including 2 with a summit finish). This will be Bryan Coquard's playground. Having finished in the top 10 five times in the last Tour de France, and having distinguished himself by finishing 2nd in the mixed relay at the world championships, Bryan Coquard is in particularly good shape for this new challenge. He will be able to count on the support and experience of Davide Cimolai to tackle the sprints.
There's no shortage of talent in the Cofidis squad, and all those who will be helping Jesus and Bryan will also be able to seize opportunities. This is the case for Ruben Fernandez (32), 15th in the Saudi Tour, Rémy Rochas, 15th overall in the Vuelta 2 years ago, and François Bidard, who will be taking part in his 9th Grand Tour. André Carvalho, 25, will be discovering the joys of a Grand Tour for the first time in his career. He will be able to count on the advice and experience of José Herrada. At 37, the eldest of the Herrada family is taking part in his last Vuelta. He too will be trying his luck right to the end, in the hope of making his mark on this last "home" Tour alongside his brother.
Jesus Herrada: "Taking part in the Vuelta is something special for me every year. You're at home, you can feel the support of the public, the family isn't far away... I'm very happy to be able to ride it again with the support and confidence of the whole team. Like every year, our main aim will be to win stages. What's more, it's going to be special because it's my brother José's last Vuelta. Even if it's going to be very tough with the repetition of effort over three weeks, I hope we'll manage to enjoy it!"
Bingen Fernandez, directeur sportif: "The main objective of the Vuelta will be to win stages. We have some great cards to play in the mid-mountain and mountain stages. It's clear from the route that there will be fewer opportunities for daredevils, but more for climbers. And we're happy about that with Jesus (Herrada), Ruben (Fernandez) and Rémy (Rochas). In the sprint, Bryan (Coquard) has the talent to try his luck with Davide (Cimolai), who are both experienced. We have an interesting team mix with three Spanish riders, most of them experienced (including François Bidard and José Herrada) and a rider who will be making his debut in a major Tour, André Carvalho.