2023 Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana Overall Preview

The bunch head to Valencia for some much-needed sunshine. With most teams spending long hours at team camps in the area, the roads are well known to the pro peloton. This year’s edition of the race is very difficult, there’s not much hope for those who don’t climb very well.

The opening stage is the only chance for the fast men, and it’s still going to be challenge. There are two climbs in quick succession, it won’t take much to put sprinters into difficulty.

Scenario – reduced bunch sprint.

Lots of climbing throughout the day, including Cumbres del Sol  and a finish on Alto de Pinos, which is 2.4km at 9%. This is going to hurt!

Scenario – GC day number 1.

The climb of El Garbí is 2.5km at 10.6% and crests with 30km to go. This is a chance for teams with a strong team to put GC riders under pressure and potentially win the whole race.

Scenario – small group of GC riders sprint it out, we could even see a solo winner.

With the final 3.5km at 6.8%, this is another one for the climbers. It’s not the hardest finish in the world, but you need some punch to win this stage. With over 3700m of climbing, this is the Queen stage.

Scenario – uphill sprint between the GC riders.

The final stage has been changed compared to previous years, it’s no longer sprint friendly. Just 93km in length and features a climb of 4.8km at 9.3%, who wants to try and hold this together?

Scenario – breakaway day, but it depends on the GC situation.


Bahrain – they have Bilbao and Poels as their protected riders. Bilbao started the season in the Tour Down Under, winning a stage and finishing 3rd on GC. He should feel the benefit of that race in his legs, and as this stage could well be decided by bonus seconds, his fast sprint is a big advantage. Poels provides the team with an excellent second option, he also a fast sprint and should enjoy the GC days.

Ineos – Rodríguez and Arensman should be their protected riders. Rodríguez enjoyed a brilliant 2022, his level of consistency was very impressive for one so young. He was 3rd here last year and should be going well after just returning from altitude. The same can be said of Arensman, I’m interested to see how he goes in his first race with the team, but he would have liked a TT to be included. Ineos have two strong options.

Bora – Vlasov and Kämna spearhead their squad. Vlasov is the defending champion, but we’ll have to wait and see what his current shape is like. Kämna didn’t have a great time in Mallorca but should be better with those races in his legs. Both riders have a shot at winning the title.

UAE – McNulty and Soler are their two hitters. McNulty crashed in the opening day over in Mallorca but recovered to finish 5th on the penultimate day. His target this year is week-long stage races, I think that means starting here. Soler is a very hard man to predict, but on his day, he’s a top rider. Due to the nature of the stages, having multiple options is a must in the race, and UAE have two excellent cards to play.

Rui Costa – was brilliant in Mallorca, he’ll ride here with the freedom that comes from winning. Given the level of competition, winning GC will be hard, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him winning a stage.

Luis León Sánchez – doing it for us old men! He’ll be hoping to challenge for the top 10.

Anthon Charmig – started last year in flying form, why not this year too. If he’s at his best, the top 7 is a possibility.

Prediction Time

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It’s time for a Brandon McNulty masterclass.