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Cobbles could create some fun on the way to Venlo
Proycling's Analysis: This stage could change depending on the weather. If it’s fine, the riders will tackle a number of cobbled sections but these will be bypassed if it’s inclement. Apparently, the organisers don’t want to make things too stressful. What’s next? Mid-stage counselling? The cobbles should spice up this flattish stage. A final bunch sprint looks likely.
Culture Vulture: As a key road and rail crossing point of the River Maas, Venlo was badly hit in World War 2, although the Allies failed to destroy the bridges they were targeting in 13 raids. The retreating Germans did the job for them instead.
Local hero: Former Rabobank rider Bobbie Traksel won’t be far from home in Tiel when he lines up there for this stage. The 27-year-old was tipped for big things after he won the U23 Tour of Flanders and has thrived since Vacansoleil started to back what was the P3Transfer team last year.
Vuelta Retro: It’s 30 years since Joop Zoetemelk became the second Dutch winner of the race. Jan Janssen claimed Holland’s first title in 1967.
Neil Stephens says: There's the cobbled section with 20km to go, so it'll be the same as the previous day - make sure our guys get through it ok and don't lose any time. It's another sprinter's stage so we'll let them do what they do best as they won't get that many chances after this first week.