The Vuelta's route management team seem to have been unable to resist including a climb late on in what otherwise would have been a perfect stage for the sprinters, who continue to have a hard time throughout Spain's grand tour. Today's cat 3 test is not overly tough but the twisting roads that feature all day support the belief that this is a day on which a break could survive to the finish.
With the first mountain test to follow the next day, the main contenders may be quite happy to allow one of the lesser lights from a team seeking momentary breakaway glory to take the red jersey, knowing that it is sure to come back to one of them imminently. The gently rising finish in the beautiful city of Ronda will be spectacular.
Fernando Escartín says:
"We did think about finishing in the old part of the city but the roads aren't wide enough to accommodate a sprint. The third-category climb is a leg-breaker as it's quite long. It should be a spectacular finish as Ronda is such an amazing spot."