It is too early for predictions but I will be keeping close eye on V.Karpets (I don't think Pereiro has a chance),Brajkovic(who may have signed with T-Mobile for next year???),Devolder(who was hell bent on being at the Vuelta, and Sammy Sanchez who has been quiet after an impressive early season.
Cunego,Menchov,Evans, and Sastre are all obvious contenders.
Disco is bringing a strong team for their possible farewell race and CSC seems to be sending a B-Team behind Carlos. Lotto and Rabobank seem to have some depth as well.
With a lot of riders likely to bail out in preparation for the Worlds(Bettin,Boonen,Freire,Rebelin?? who else?), several teams will be left toothless for sprints or stages.
Over all it seems that the Vuelta suffers from a lack of big names, but this is a good thing as it serves to spotlight riders on the verge of a breakthrough. It at least forces you to keep an eye on different names and pay attention more.
The Vuelta has a much tougher first week than usual with a lot of climbing relative to flatter stages. Looks more suited to break aways and should provide some excitement for the GC crew