Preview: What you need to know about stage 17 of the Vuelta a España

A tough day of racing in the mountains.

by Matt de Neef

Date: Wednesday September 1
Start: Unquera
Finish: Lagos de Covadonga
Distance: 185.8 km

The profile for this stage looks like a zoomed-in photo of a chainring. There’s an early Cat 3 climb (5.3 km at 4.7%), then two ascents of La Collada Llomena (7.6 km at 9.3%), which top out at 98 and 56 km to go. There are bonus seconds available after the second of those ascents.

There’s a long downhill from there and then it’s into the final, stage-ending, HC climb to Lagos de Covadonga (12.5 km at 6.9%). The climb is tougher than that average gradient would suggest – it’s up and down at the end with some steep sections. There is a particularly steep stretch that reaches into the double digits midway up the climb.

Who’s it for: This will be important for the GC regardless, but as ever, the breakaway will have a shot at the stage. We’ll see

Dane Cash’s picks: I’d give the GC riders a very slight edge here as I do think some of the teams in the mix for red will try to set a tough pace throughout the day. Primoz Roglič will be the favorite out of the pack; he tends to do quite well atop tough climbs where the gradient eases late. Miguel Ángel López will be another favorite, and so will Enric Mas. If it comes to a break, keep an eye on the likes of Romain Bardet, Michael Storer, Rafal Majka, and Damiano Caruso.

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