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This starts in Algeciras, the port almost on Spain's most southern tip, from where ferries cross the straits of Gibraltar to Tangier. It looks like a gentle way to ease into a grand tour. The day's only climb, a cat 3 hill, comes very early on and from that point, there's barely a lump worthy of mention as the route heads North West along Spain's Atlantic coast.
However, this is one of Europe's prime windsurfing locales, which highlights the main difficulty riders are likely to face today. The winds can be f¬ierce off the sea, which could well result in echelons forming. Although the sprinters should ultimately prevail, there is sure to be a constant battle among the GC contenders to remain near the front of the bunch.
Sean Kelly says:
"It's the first road stage of a grand tour so the peloton will be extremely nervous and even more so if the weather doesn't cooperate. The wind could be a huge factor today, creating the risk of echelons, crashes and some crazy and hectic racing."