Vuelta a España: Stage 9 preview

Stage details and expert guide

Andorra –Barcelona

Distance: 194km
Highest point: 885m
Category: Rolling

Olympian finish
It’s 13 years since the Vuelta finished in Spain’s second city and it reappears with an intriguing run-in not unlike the one that featured in the 2009 Tour de France, when Thor Hushovd stormed his way up the final drag to victory. It’s a surprisingly long stage considering the race will transfer across the country after it. Starting in Andorra, it drops into Catalonia, crossing a cat 3 climb on the way. The route then drops steadily all the way into Barcelona. The riders then have to negotiate the steep ramps of the famous Montjuich climb, before the run-up to the finish outside Barcelona’s Olympic stadium.

Markel Irizar: "By this point the GC should be sorted so a breakaway could stay clear to the inish, which is uphill and quite tough so the sprinters’ teams might not want to pull on the front. I think this could be too hard for the likes of Cavendish, for example."

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