A day for breakaway but a short stage at just 160km.
Stage 11 Review: a wet day with cold conditions at altitude which might explain plenty. The stage had one winner and plenty of losers, notably Orica-Scott and BMC Racing. The day’s breakaway contained veteran Igor Anton who was not far down on GC so Sky kept the move in check which spoilt the day for Romain Bardet, also in the break. Then Orica-Scott took up the pace as if they had a plan in mind and later fired Simon Yates up the road but Esteban Chaves would lose two minutes and Adam Yates nine. Meanwhile Tejay van Garderen lost of three minutes and Nicolas Roche lost four. The result is Esteban Chaves is third overall while BMC’s riders dropped out of the top-10.
Miguel Ángel López won the stage. He’s called “Superman” but not because he has a cape nor because he tucks his shirt into his underwear neither because he flies through the air in pantyhose. Instead thieves tried to take his bike off him once and stabbed him in the leg but he fought them off. So rain and cold conditions probably don’t worry him. Another winner was Vincenzo Nibali who finished third and on the same time as Chris Froome, he was in charge of the race at times and he’ll take comfort from this. Wilco Kelderman impressed too.
The Route: 16okm, first along the coast and then inland for the climbs. The first climb of the Puerto de Leon is 17.4km at 4.9% but includes a downhill section and the mode gradient is more like 6-7% and there’s a 10% section. Next comes El Torcal, 7.6km at 7% which includes the intermediate sprint but it’s 8-10% through the “sprint” and only eases towards the top.
The Finish: the route circles Antequera on flat roads but final kilometre is uphill, not a climb but a pronounced gradient between the 800m to go point and 300m.
The Contenders: another breakaway, another lottery? Perhaps but as a rule once riders start to show in the breakaways they continue to do so during a grand tour. So Julian Alaphilippe is an obvious pick, at ease on the climbs and he packs a powerful sprint. L-L Sanchez is another breakaway specialist and Astana team mate Alexey Lutsenko is a powerful type for today. Otherwise Matteo Trentin is the safe pick but his win two days ago was a surprise and to repeat this over more mountains would be even more of a shock especially as everyone is now aware of his polyvalence.
|Julian Alaphilippe, Alexey Lutsenko|
|Sanchez, Marzcynski, Trentin, Roux, De Gendt, Geniez|
Weather: dry, there will be a mix of sunshine and clouds with a top temperature of 26°C.
TV: It’s on La1 in Spain and Eurosport around much of the world and often on the same broadcaster you watch the Tour de France on. The finish is forecast for 5.40pm CEST.
Daily Díaz: Protohistory is a period between prehistory and history, during which a culture or civilization has not yet developed writing but other cultures have already noted its existence in their own writings. Today’s stage covers a couple of protohistoric issues. The first 75 km run along the coast. The Phoenicians (inventors of the alphabet), in the 1st millennium BC, sailed the Mediterranean sea, establishing contact with less developed peoples. That’s how Almuñécar (KM14) was born, as a trade point between the Eastern traders and the local miners. Even more ancient are the monuments of the Antequera Dolmens Site. Megaliths are found in many places around Europe, and these are some of the best preserved of Spain. They are a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2016.
Thanks to cycling podcaster and history teacher Manuel Pérez Díaz for the local information. You can follow him on Twitter as perezdiazmanuel