Alexandre B. wrote:
The Vuelta has more room to experiment than the other GTs.
That's true, but it's still the Vuelta. Tier 1 PCT teams should take precedence.
I'm not sure that there is much of a "tier 1" in the current PCT division. It's not like there are a few Cervelos or BMCs lurking there. I can't see that there is any team so much stronger than everyone else that they should get 2 GTs almost by right.
There is a range of quality levels, but not really currently discrete tiers or vast gaps. You could argue that, say, Direct Energie or Willier or some very well established team is a better bet than a new team, but such teams already have a GT invite and for them the Vuelta is very much a secondary consideration. It's quite reasonable for the Vuelta to prioritise teams who will prioritise the Vuelta. Why shouldn't they want their race to be the centrepiece of the season for three of their four invites? Why should they prefer to have Direct Energie's second string rather than teams that will bring a bit of novelty factor attention to their race and which will focus much of their year on doing well there?
As a general rule, I think that the Vuelta should do this sort of thing regularly. They don't have a responsibility to take local teams other than Caja Rural, and they create more of a stir by bringing in unusual teams than they do by being a minor concern for teams already going to the Giro or a Tour.
There are not many strongish PCT teams without a GT ride. I could see a case for an Androni or Roompot on strength grounds, but we don't know if either team pursued a Vuelta invite seriously and taking an Italian squad after all the Giro wildcard yelling really would involve making their race appear like a not very welcome consolation prize.