Six riders to follow on Strava at the 2014 Vuelta a Espana
Who to watch on Strava during the Vuelta a Espana
Strava isn't just for amateur riders looking to set a new personal best on a local segment - but for professional cyclists competing in the sport's biggest races.
The ride-sharing app and website is becoming increasingly popular in the WorldTour peloton and a growing number of riders are choosing to share their training runs and race data, providing a fascinating insight into life as a pro.
It enables us to get a flavour of the incredible mileage and intensity required to ride at the top level, not least at the Vuelta a Espana, which starts in Jerez, Spain, on Saturday. All in all, 20 Strava-registered riders are set to contest the 2014 Vuelta, representing nine teams - you can find them all here.
We've selected six - from Strava poster boy Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin Pro Cycling) to Tour de France podium finisher Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr) - who you should follow. Of course, no rider is obliged to upload their data, nor is there any guarantee they will, but here are some of the riders you should keep an eye on.[splitpost intro="true"]
[part title="Laurens Ten Dam"]
Laurens Ten Dam (Belkin Pro Cycling)
Laurens Ten Dam is a prolific Strava user and just one of six riders from the Belkin Pro Cycling team to use the ride-sharing website and set to start the Vuelta.
Ten Dam has become something of a WorldTour Strava celebrity, with more than 63,000 followers keeping tabs on the Dutchman's training rides and race appearances, including his last long training ride ahead of the Vuelta, a 126-mile jaunt into Belgium from his Dutch training base in Maastricht.
Ten Dam has logged nearly 13,000 miles so far this year, climbing just shy of 1,000,000 feet - incredible, right? The 33-year-old finished ninth in the Tour de France and uploaded his ride from each and every stage, giving his followers an idea of what it takes to ride the Tour. Tens Dam is also one of the few professional riders to share his power data.
Expect more of the same at the Vuelta, while you can also expect to see Strava action from Robert Gesink, Stef Clement, Martijn Keizer, Wilco Kelderman and Paul Martens.
[part title="Rigoberto Uran"]
Rigoberto Uran (Omega Pharma-QuickStep)
Rigoberto Uran will lead Omega Pharma-QuickStep at the Vuelta a Espana and the Colombian is one of two of the team's nine-rider roster to feature on Strava.
Uran left Team Sky at the end of the 2013 season in search of Grand Tour leadership and rewarded his new employers with a second-place finish behind compatriot Nairo Quintana (Movistar) at the Giro d'Italia.
Now, having had a prolonged break from racing which only saw Uran return at the Tour de l'Ain last week, the 27-year-old goes into the Vuelta looking to go one better and stand on the top step of the podium.
Uran is best described as an occasional Strava user, rather than a dyed-in-the-wool addict, but you can find his profile here, and his team-mate, Carlos Verona, has already uploaded a pre-Vuelta team training ride from Jerez, which will host Saturday's opening stage.
[part title="Thibaut Pinot"]
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr)
France enjoyed a superb Tour in July and Thibaut Pinot was at the heart of the success, finishing third on the podium in Paris, behind second-place finisher and compatriot Jean Christophe Peraud (Ag2r La Mondiale).
The 24-year-old Pinot also won the best young rider classification and will look to build on that Grand Tour success at the Vuelta, where he heads the FDJ.fr line-up.
Pinot is a regular Strava user, if not as prolific as Tens Dam, and, as you'd expect of a WorldTour rider, not least a man with the climbing ability of Pinot, the young star's list of 'King of the Mountains' achievements runs on to some 20 pages, with many accrued during the Tour de France.
Meanwhile, you can also follow Pinot's Vuelta team-mate, 29-year-old Cedric Pineau.
[part title="Adam Yates"]
Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE)
Adam Yates has enjoyed an astonishing neo-pro season to date, winning the Tour of Turkey (and a stage), finishing fifth at the Tour of California and sixth at the Criterium du Dauphine.
Yates' twin brother, Simon, has also taken to life in the WorldTour peloton like a duck to water and earnt a Tour de France start, where he subsequently impressed by making two stage-long mountain breakaways.
Now it's Adam's turn to make his Grand Tour debut. The 22-year-old will be given licence to go for stage wins for Orica-GreenEDGE and is one of five Brits in the race, along with Chris Froome, Pete Kennaugh and Luke Rowe (all Team Sky) and Garmin-Sharp's David Millar.
Yates also won the GP Industria & Artigianato di Larciano in July and his Strava upload shows an average speed of 25.9mph - and a top speed of 53.2mph - for the lumpy 122-mile race in Italy.
His profile also shows a series of training rides in Girona, and data from a number of other races so far this season. Let's hope his success continues at the Vuelta.
[part title="Dan Craven"]
Dan Craven (Europcar)
Followers of the UK domestic scene will be familiar with Dan Craven, the Namibian who rode for Rapha-Condor between 2009 and 2011, and Team IG-Sigma Sport in 2012.
The 31-year-old spent the 2013 season with the Synergy Baku Cycling Project, managed by retired British pro Jeremy Hunt, and moved to the Bike Aid-Ride for Help team at the start of 2014 before securing a mid-season transfer to Europcar in May - and he will now start his first Grand Tour at the Vuelta a Espana.
Craven, who is easily recognisable in the peloton thanks to his beard, last uploaded a ride to Strava at the Commonwealth Games, where he produced a fine ride to come ninth - just one of 12 finishers.
Craven's other Strava exploits include the 2012 Desert Dash in his home country of Namibia, with the 230-mile event said to be the longest single-stage mountain bike race in the world.
[part title="Nathan Brown"]
Nathan Brown (Garmin-Sharp)
Nathan Brown is another rider set to start his first Grand Tour at the Vuelta a Espana having stepped up to the pro ranks with Gamin-Sharp at the start of the season.
The American last competed at the Tour of Poland, where, according to his Strava profile, he rode the longest race of his career to date, with stage four measuring 146 miles. Brown's profile also shows a series of training rides in both Girona, Spain, and Austin, Texas.
The American will take to the start line for the opening stage of the Vuelta a Espana, a team time trial in Jerez, as part of a strong Garmin-Sharp line-up which also includes David Millar, Dan Martin, Ryder Hesjedal, Johan Vansummeren, Nathan Haas, Koldo Fernandez and Andre Cardoso.