The race has had some uphill finishes, today brings the first genuine summit finish and with it the chance to discover who’s able to win the race outright. As well as the main contenders we’ll see how Esteban Chaves fares on a longer climb and whether he’s still smiling at the end of the day.
Stage 6 Wrap: once bitten, twice shy? No because when Esteban Chaves attacked nobody chased him down despite his obvious form that’s won him a stage and a stint in red already. Perhaps they don’t rate his chances in the high mountains but when Chaves went, everyone else sat tight prefering to mark each other, fearful that if they responded they’d expose themselves to a counter-attack and therefore a loss. Tom Dumoulin couldn’t hold back because he had a jersey to defend but his diesel style couldn’t bring back Chaves. Dan Martin tried a move as well but it was too late, perhaps the story of his season so far?
The Route: 191km but like much of the Vuelta it’s all about the final climb. The mid-way peak is the Puerto de los Blancares, 9 km at just 3.3 %.
The Finish: a summit finish of 18.7km at an average of 5% but as you can see it’s two climbs for the price of one, a 6km climb then a flat section before over 8km uphill. Note that 14% section near the finish, it’s only short but it’s the obvious place for a testing attack.
The Contenders: he can climb and he can sprint so Alejandro Valverde is the prime pick. Yesterday we saw Nairo Quintana working on the front which suggests the Spaniard is Movistar’s best bet right now. Who is Katusha’s best rider? On paper it’s Joaquim Rodriguez but so far Dani Moreno has looked better this week and both have a good chance today.
We’ll now get answers about Chris Froome and Fabio Aru too, both have a good chance today. Esteban Chaves is climbing so well that he’s got to be a clear pick too, today is a long climb but he only has to sit tight and ride the team trains until the steep upper sections.
|Dani Moreno, Joaquim Rodriguez
|Aru, Chaves, Froome, Pozzovivo, Martin, Majka, van Garderen
Weather: hot and sunny with the thermometer reaching 38°C.
TV: the final climb is forecast to start around 5.10pm Euro time and as ever the finish is for 5.40pm. It’s on Eurosport too and you can rely on Cyclingfans and steephill.tv for links to feeds and streams.
Daily Díaz: In 1492 the Christians conquered Granada, the last city of Spain controlled by the Arabs, and they had a problem to solve: what do we do with all these Muslim people living here? First they decided to let them keep their religion (mudéjares), but later in the 16th century they were forced to convert to christianity (moriscos). Of course that conversion was only formal and very superficial, and many many people in Granada and other parts of Spain continued practising Islam in private. This tension couldn’t last long (the Spanish monarchs were fighting the Ottoman empire, and these moriscos were thought of as traitors who would facilitate a Turkish invasion), and in 1568 an armed rebellion started in the Alpujarras, led by Aben Humeya. It took three years and many deaths to end this war, after which the moriscos were evacuated from Granada to other parts of Spain, and migrants were sent to the Alpujarras, today’s finish, to prevent depopulation. The definitive expulsion was ordered in 1609.
Thanks to cycling podcaster and history teacher Manuel Pérez Díaz for the local information. You can follow him on Twitter as perezdiazmanuel