Daniel Teklehaimanot (Orica-GreenEDGE)
The WorldTours first Black African will ride his first Grand Tour with Orica-GreenEDGE for whom he was their first signing. Lot's of Firsts. I don't expect the 23 years old (pictured above) to feature in the GC, after all he's only been road cycling since 2005 and it wasn't until 2009 that he was picked up by the UCI and taken from his native Eritreat to be developed in Switzerland at their World Cycling Centre before becoming GreenEDGE's first signing in 2011 to ride for the team in 2012. He has shown promise as a strong time trialist and climber. Finishing 6th in the 2009 Tour de l'Avenir and winning the 2010 Tour of Rwanda were highlights in his early palmares though Daniel has since added an African Time Trial championships last year and more recently a 2nd place in the Mountains Classification of last months Tour of Poland in what is his first year as a pro-cyclist. Not bad vital signs at all. He's a bit of a rough diamond still and I've got him down as an all-rounder, though a bit of work - which I'm sure Orica-GreenEDGE are working on - in certain aspects could see him become a top stage race rider. For a far more detailed look at this rising star, there is a cracking piece over at 'Cycling Tips' which you can read here. I'm looking forward to seeing how he fares in his first grand tour, keep your eyes on this man that's for sure.
Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
Sergio Henao (Sky)
Wherever the above three riders place, they are sure to be good value. The Vuelta has a habit of chucking an unusual mix of riders into the limelight and there will no doubt be plenty of complete unknowns who leave us speechless by the end of the race, just look at last years race, Chris Froome and Juan Jose Cobo? Who knew...