Date: Tuesday August 24
Start: Roquetas de Mar
Finish: Rincón de la Victoria
Distance: 189 km
After a rest day, the Vuelta resumes with a mostly flat, relatively easy stage alongside the Alboran Sea in southern Spain. I say “mostly flat” but there is a 10.9 km climb (average 4.9%) that peaks 15 km from the finish line, with bonus seconds available at the top. From there it’s all downhill to the finish.
It’s tough to say what kind of impact the climb will have on the peloton. It’s unlikely to have GC implications, but it will likely be too hard for the sprinters, leaving fewer teams to chase the break.
Who’s it for: This one is hard to predict. It could be a stage for the early breakaway or the winner could punch away from peloton on that late climb. Perhaps the most likely outcome though is a sprint from a small group of strong climbers.
Dane Cash’s picks: Unless the pack sets a high pace up the late climb, this stage could come down to a battle between versatile riders like Michael Matthews, up-and-comer Andrea Bagioli, Magnus Cort, and Matteo Trentin. If a breakaway stays clear, it’s anyone’s guess who takes the win, although there’s always the possibility that one of the aforementioned riders takes a gamble on the early move.