Quintana favourite in possible stellar 2014 Vuelta a España line-up

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The Tour de France is not a race for the faint-hearted with many of the top names in cycling already withdrawn from this year’s spectacle leaving Vincenzo Nibali as the standout contender to win the yellow jersey in Paris next Sunday.

But while Le Tour has lost the likes of defending champions Chris Froome and former winner Alberto Contador, it could be to the advantage of the Vuelta a España.

A host of cycling stars will now target the August race with last year’s Tour de France winner Froome se to bid for glory in Spain.

The Team Sky rider crashed out on Stage 5 of this year’s race but his team principal Dave Brailsford has already revealed we will see the 29-year-old at the Vuelta, which begins on August 23 in Jerez de la Frontera.

Froome, who finished second in 2011 and fourth in 2012 in Spain, is 5/2 with Ladbrokes to add the Vuelta crown to his 2013 Tour de France win.

But he is expected to face fierce competition in the form of Giro d’Italia winner Nairo Quintana.

Last year’s Tour de France runner-up was left out of Movistar’s team for the three-week tour of France after his exploits in Italy and is being primed for a Vuelta challenge.

The Colombian rider is the 6/4 favourite to win the red jersey when the race rolls to the finish line in Madrid on September 14.

The 2012 race winner Alberto Contador was another big name to crash out of this year’s Tour de France but he could miss out in Spain with his injury taking up to six weeks to recover.

Ladbrokes have priced the Spaniard up at 9/2 to claim the red jersey but with doubts surrounding his fitness he may not take his place in the starting line-up.

It is unknown whether Nibali, who is the overwhelming 1/20 favourite to win the Tour de France, will feature at the Vuelta but if he declares himself to ride his odds of 25/1 will tumble after his impressive performances on the roads of France.

Joaquim Rodriguez, who is 8/1 for glory, is another who would have fancied his chances of winning the third of this year’s Grand Tours before the starting line-up started to take shape but he may have to settle for another podium finish in Madrid.

Last year’s winner Chris Horner, who was the first ever American to win the Vuelta, is 40/1 for victory but at 42-years-old and with a stellar line it’s hard to see a repeat performance.

Latest 2014 Vuelta a España odds:

Quintana 6/4, Froome 5/2, Contador 9/2, Rodriguez 8/1, Valverde 20/1, Nibali 25/1, Uran 25/1, Aru 28/1, Pozzovivo 33/1, Horner 40/1, Wiggins 40/1, Dan Martin 50/1.

Other odds available on request.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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