Category: High mountains
Highest point: 1,680m
There may have been plenty of climbs on the route so far but this stage marks a bit step up in terms of height, difficulty and intensity. The two key tests come in the final quarter of the stage. The Monachil last featured in 2009 and is best remembered as the pass where Cadel Evans punctured and, he still believes, lost that year's Vuelta because he failed to get a spare wheel promptly. This time it's the precursor to a new climb that could quickly assume the same legendary status as the Angliru. Although the riders will only be tackling the first 7km of this long ascent, the first 5km averages 11 per cent. By the two that follow the GC contenders will be very evident.
José Azevedo: "The first half is straightforward but then come two tough GPMs. The first will produce a selection. The final climb is not so long but it's very steep, so this will be an important day for the GC contenders as it is the first big test of their condition."
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