On Saturday 19 August the Vuelta starts with a team time trial in Nîmes, France. These nine Lotto Soudal riders will take part in the last Grand Tour of the season: Sander Armée, Bart De Clercq, Thomas De Gendt, Jens Debusschere, Tomasz Marczynski, Rémy Mertz, Maxime Monfort, Rafael Valls and Jelle Wallays.

It will be the third participation for Rafael Valls (30) in the biggest race of his country. Also for Jens Debusschere, who celebrates his 28th birthday during the Vuelta, it’s the third Vuelta of his career. His fellow countryman Maxime Monfort (34) is more experienced, he takes part for the seventh time. Rémy Mertz (22) is making his Grand Tour début. Jelle Wallays (28) did the same in last year’s Vuelta and he is part of the line-up again. Bart De Clercq, who turns 31 on 26 August, crashed in last year’s sixth stage and had to let go of his ambitions. He gets new opportunities in his sixth Vuelta. Sander Armée (31) returns to the Vuelta too. Just like for Tomasz Marczynski (33) this will be his third Vuelta. Thomas De Gendt (30) can get ready to join breakaways, he is riding the Vuelta for the fifth time.

It’s remarkable that Adam Hansen is not part of the line-up, after eighteen consecutive Grand Tours.

Marc Sergeant, sports manager Lotto Soudal: “Adam was suffering from saddle sore at the Tour. There are less than four weeks between the end of the Tour and the start of the Vuelta. After less than two weeks the injury is healing, but has not disappeared, so the staff fears the injury might play up again during the Vuelta. At the moment Adam hasn’t resumed training yet, so that means the preparation would be really short too. With the sporting goals in mind too, the staff decided not to select him. It’s true that Adam has set a fantastic record, but we knew that would come to an end sooner or later.”