On paper a transition stage but it should offer a lively finish with an uphill climb to the line, one for the versatile sprinters but also for the puncheurs who can cope with the slope.
The Route: up and down all day and this continues to the finish line.
The Finish: the last 5km twist and turn through the small town of La Lastrilla before a final straight one kilometre that includes a roundabout.
The Scenario: breakaway or sprint? The sprinters seem to be winning in their arm-wrestle (leg wrestle?) contest with the breakaways and Daniele Bennati would be another good pick. He won yesterday and has won uphill sprint finishes in the Vuelta in years past too.
Weather: 26°c (78°F) and sunny skies with only a light breeze.
TV: 4.00-6.00pm Euro time.
Local rider: it should be Movistar’s long-serving Pablo Lastras as his name is where today’s finish town of La Lastrilla comes from, it means “little Lastras” but in fact he’s from Madrid. Instead let’s look to Pedro Delgado, the winner of the 1985 and 1989 Vuelta, plus the 1988 Tour de France. He’s linked to Movistar because he rode for the Reynolds team which became Banesto and then Caisse d’Epargne and is today sponsored by cellphone operator Movistar. Delgado was an exciting rider, a mountain climber capable of winning stage races. He animated the 1989 Tour because if Greg Lemond and Laurent Fignon duelled and finished the race with the narrowest victory margin of 8 seconds, Delgado turned up late for the prologue and spent the rest of the three weeks playing catch-up in the mountains and attacking everyone. But he wasn’t pure action, he won in 1988 following a positive test but the if the detected substance was on the banned list issued by the Olympics, the UCI hadn’t got round to adding the molecule to their list and it cast a shadow over the race. Today Delgado is a consultant for Spanish TV and seems to be one of those ex-riders who has not aged.
Mañana: “tomorrow” sees the big final mountain stage of the race with the Bola del Mundo summit finish at altitude. Some riders will spend the day trying to rest.