Faustino V – Eibar (Arrate)
Highest point: 940m
Category: Medium mountains
First test for the contenders
Following last year’s highly successful return to the Basque Country after a very long hiatus, Basque fans only get one chance to cheer their orange-clad heroes on the Euskaltel team this year. However, what a stage for such an early point in a grand tour. There are three categorised climbs leading into the ascent of the Arrate – a traditional feature of the Tour of the Basque Country and the much-missed Bicicleta Vasca – that rises 410m in just 5km. There are steep pitches along the way, followed by two flattish closing kilometres. The big guns will emerge, although the gaps between them will be small.
Igor Anton: "We’re back to the Basque Country after the success of last year in Bilbao and Vitoria. What memories I’ve got of those days! This is a special stage as we are on home ground. On the Arrate, we will see who is in form and who’s a bit off."