All eyes will be on Benidorm, the birthplace of package tourism, as the Vuelta gets under way this Saturday barely four weeks after the Tour de France.
Following the most exciting Tour in years shouldn't prove a problem: excitement levels are high; the hilly route — which dips into the Basque region for the first time in 33 years — is both interesting and original (there are no Pyrenees, for example, but still six summit finishes); and all the big names who crashed out of the Grande Boucle with broken bones now have a chance to make amends in the season's third and final major stage race.
If you told Bradley Wiggins at the beginning of the year that he'd be on a beach in Benidorm in late August, he'd have imagined the annual Wiggo family holiday on the back of a top-ten finish in France.
Yes, for humour levels alone, seeing pasty Brits Wiggins and soon-to-be-new-team-mate Mark Cavendish grapple with the fierce Spanish sun on the Costa Blanca or across the parched plains of central Spain, is going to be something to behold — while kicking the whole thing off with a beachside TTT in the 'Manhatten of Spain', renowned for its British drunken lager louts and violent binge drinking, should at least give the Tour's trek to Alpe d'Huez a run for its money in the alcohol stakes.
The return to Spain's cycling heartland will act as a nice subplot — and should bolster the hopes of the Basque boys in orange from Euskaltel, whose leader Igor Anton lives in Bilbao, the finish town of stage 19.
There may be no Pyrenees, but reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali will need to show form from the outset with the hills arriving as early as day two, before the undulating ride to Sierra Nevada on stage four.
Later in the race, the climb to Angliru on stage 15 has been described by race director Javier Guillen as a "colossus of cycling, one of the most spectacular stages of the entire season".
If Anton manages to stay on his bike this year, the Spaniard could be a real threat to Nibali, whose closest red-jersey rival from last year, Ezequiel 'White as Starch' Mosquera, has been forced to sit out the season under a cloud of doping suspicion.
Despite — or even because of, perhaps — the presence of explosive Slovak star Peter Sagan, Nibali may find a title defence a little difficult.
The Shark's Liquigas team does look a bit lightweight, and Saddles expects this year's winner to be a Spaniard.
As well as Anton, Katusha's Joaquin Rodriguez, who sat out the Tour, looks a strong bet — provided he can limit his loses on the ITT in Salamanca in stage 10.
The teams of Euskaltel and Movistar look very solid, while Rabobank, with their large Spanish contingent, should shine.
RadioShack's Janez Brajkovic will be worth watching, as will Omega Pharma-Lotto's Jurgen van den Broeck. Wiggins stands no chance — or will be a huge threat. It depends on how you thought he'd actually fare in the Tour, and Saddles had him outside the top ten in France in spite of all the hype.
Lampre's Michele Scarponi could be the best-placed Italian after Nibali. Carlos Sastre looks (and is) too old, as does his Geox team-mate (and former Vuelta winner) Denis Menchov. Both are unknown packages, though, after a pretty quiet season. But never discount the Russians (unless they ride for Katusha, that is).
Sprinting should provide much excitement, what with Cavendish determined to end his HTC-Highroad career — and the life of the whole team — on a high.
Tyler Farrar will have the support of Heinrich Haussler at Garmin; Alessandro Petacchi, after his miserable Tour, will surely be doing more than sightseeing for Lampre; forgotten man Daniele Bennati (Leopard) should notch a few top fives; and it would be nice to see Tom Boonen (QuickStep) avoiding accidents and refinding some form (although that is a big ask).
But will any of them be able to keep up with German speed sensation (no, not Jan Ullrich — that's a different type of speed...) Marcel Kittel of Skil Shimano, who netted four wins in Poland earlier this month? Probably. And what about veteran Oscar Freire — will Rabobank need to get the jump-leads out every day to recharge his batteries?
Spanish Continental Pro outfit Andalucia Caja Granada will emulate FDJ and try get themselves into every break possible, no doubt thwarted by QuickStep's Kevin Seeldraeyers (who seems to be everywhere this year).
There are many other pressing questions. Will Nicolas Roche (AG2R) save his season? How will BMC's Taylor Phinney fare in his debut Grand Tour?
With the imminent arrivals of Messrs Hushovd and Gilbert at BMC, will Greg Van Avermart go out with a bang? Will David Moncoutie go for another mountains jersey before retiring his retirement? Will Pierre Cazaux, the only Frenchman at Euskaltel, do something to explain his incongruous selection?
And what about these ones: Will Jurgen van de Walle be the first to crash out? Will Saxo Bank have a purpose without Alberto Contador? How will David Harmon pronounce Benat Intxausti's name? Will Dan Martin build on his recent form, or simply be mistaken as Tony's younger, less illustrious Irish half-brother? Will there be a point to Stijn Devolder?
Here's hoping this Vuelta will be a belter. And to end, a few other names to look out for: Mikel Nieve (Euskaltel), Jesus Rosendo (Andalucia), Rein Taaramae (Codifis), Imanol Erviti (Movistar), Tiago Machado (RadioShack), Wout Poels (Vacansoleil), Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank), and Belarusian brothers Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Katusha) and Kanstantin Siutsou (HTC).