This is the third of a trinity of flat stages for the sprinters before the climbers come out to play tomorrow. So far even the flat stages have been entertaining in the Vuelta, no more so than yesterday’s stage.
Stage 6 Review
You can read in one sentence that Tony Martin was out in front all day but got caught within sight of the finish line. But this doesn’t do the effort justice, he away for almost four hours and got swamped by the bunch with just 100 metres to go. It looked to all as if he was going to win the stage and the result, a win by Michael Mørkøv, testifies to the strange finish. The Dane is not a pure sprinter but as the bunch chased and chased it look a long sustained effort to keep going and he got the better of Maximiliano Richeze.
Stage 7 Preview
The Route: over 200km due south. There are no climbs along the way but two intermediate sprints. The second is in the finish town of Mairena del Aljarafe where the race will cross the finish line before heading out for a 31km loop.
The Finish: another urban finish complete with roundabouts but nothing scary, plus the bunch gets to check out the finish once before they head for the finish.
The Scenario: if Tony Martin can’t hold off the bunch, who can? A sprint finish is likely again but we’re not seeing committed teams controlling the race to set up a sprint finish, instead squads are lending a few riders to a collective effort. If it comes to a bunch sprint Maximiliano Richeze has been close every day and it could be his turn. But again expect to see Tyler Farrar, Nikias Arndt and others in the mix and again OPQS and Orica-Greenedge need to pick between Meersman and Fenn, Matthews and Howard respectively.
Watch the climbers today too because they must rest as much as possible today ahead of tomorrow’s first summit finish showdown.
Weather: hot and sunny with almost no wind, the heat will be a factor during the 200km.
TV: as usual there’s over two hours of live coverage with the finish expected for 5.45pm Euro time. Don’t forget you can channel hop to the World Ports Classic in Belgium today if you want more to watch.
- The Vuelta arrives to Andalusia. This region, the most populated of Spain, is home to Guadalquivir river, one of the most important watercourses of the country. Called “Betis” by the Romans, the current name is of Arab origin. Toponyms starting with “Guad” are very common in Spain, and refer normally to sources or courses of water (INRNG: it comes from “wadi”, meaning valley in arabic)
- Going back to the Romans, in km 153,5 (52,4 to the finish line) the race will pass by Santiponce, a small town near Seville. Pay attention to images of the ancient amphitheatre of Italica, where gladiators used to fight in front of the eyes of no less than 25,000 spectators
- After a first pass through the finish line, the bunch will enter Seville, capital city of Andalusia and a major tourist destination. By river Guadalquivir lies the Torre del Oro (“Gold Tower”), built by the Moors in the 13th century. Please note that Guadalquivir is the only main navigable river in Spain, with Seville port 80 km away from the sea.
- Aljarafe is the name of a small plateau just west of Seville. It explains the gentle slopes the peloton will face in the final 10 km of the stage
- Prominent Sevillians include a couple of Roman emperors (Trajan and Hadrian) and of course Diego Velázquez, the 17th century Baroque painter whose works are among the most renowned of Spanish and European art.
Thanks to cycling podcaster and history teacher Manuel Pérez Díaz for the local information. You can follow him on Twitter as perezdiazmanuel