With a rest day in his sights before a return to the mountains on Wednesday, Tinkoff-Saxo leader Rafal Majka is hoping the stage 11 romp through the Pyrenees will propel him up the Vuelta a Espana's general classification.
The 25-year-old Pole is currently ninth overall, 1:47 behind leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin). Majka is 29 second behind Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Nario Quintana (Movistar), with Quintana’s teammate Alejandro Valverede a further second ahead. Astana leader Fabio Aru is fifth, 34 seconds ahead of Majka.
Wednesday’s stage 11 takes riders 138km from Andorra to Els Cortals de Encamp, ascending six categorised climbs before the finish.
“For sure, this will be a very important stage for me,” Majka said. “We want to improve my position in the general classification but there is no easy way of doing this. With five very hard and steep climbs you can lose a lot of time if you have a bad day.
“The stage is just after the rest day, so I have to keep the rhythm and my legs spinning tomorrow and try to rest as much as possible at the same time,” Majka said. “It has been a hot and hard Vuelta so far, today I felt OK and we will try our best on Wednesday.”
Team director Tristan Hoffman said the team will put in a light training session on Tuesday to keep the legs ready for Wednesday’s assault.
“We will go for a light training session to keep the legs going, but we’ve had a very hot and hard start, while we face some very decisive days, so this rest day is much appreciated,” he said. “As we have said, stage 11 is on paper one of the toughest mountain stages in years, and our attention is directed towards this big challenge that will be really important for ours and Rafal’s position in the general classification.”