After starting in Oviedo, the home city of 2008 Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez and Spanish climbing legend José Manuel Fuente, the course bumps along the rugged and beautiful Asturian coast before turning south towards one of the most famous climbs in Spanish cycling. First tackled in 1983, Covadonga last featured in 2012 when Caja Rural's Antonio Piedra completely justified his small team's wild card invite by winning the stage. None of this edition's star names has ever won there, so it will be interesting to see how they tackle it bearing in mind a much tougher mountain stage lies just ahead.
The gaps between the big guns weren't very significant back in 2012. We'd expect that to be the case again today.
Sean Kelly says: "Covadonga is a difficult climb, especially on such a short stage when everyone will be going flat out from the start. That will make it very nervous. The road used to be shocking and although it's better now, this stage could still prove decisive."