Proycling's Analysis: The first rest day comes early, allowing the race’s followers to decamp from the Low Countries to Barcelona. The riders will transfer right after the Liège stage, giving them a day to acclimatise to the conditions of southern Catalonia. The opening stage in Spain is a leg-warmer with two categorised climbs – the second-cat Fatxas and third-cat Benifallet.
Culture Vulture: Once a key centre in the Roman empire, Tarragona’s most renowned monuments are its amphitheatre and aqueduct.
Local hero: Rabobank breakaway specialist Juan Antonio Flecha lives in Castelldefels, not far to the north of the stage’s start. The Argentine-born Spaniard has never won a Vuelta stage, despite five appearances.
Vuelta Retro: The latter profile suggests sprinters should hold sway today. In 2005, Dutch galloper Max Van Heeswijk won a similar stage.
Neil Stephens says: For us, you can basically split the Vuelta into sections; we've got to get down to the stages around Alicante and Murcia and the days getting there are pretty much transition stages. Hopefully when we get down there, we won't have lost any time. Hopefully there are a couple of sprinters in good shape, and they'll be able to look after a lot of the race for us... . From then on we have to look at what we're going to do.