This is the Vuelta's second visit to the ski resort of Aramón Valdelinares. The first was back in 2005, when Roberto Heras jumped away from rival Denis Menchov in the final kilometre to take the stage win and remove the leader's gold jersey (as it was back then) from the shoulders of Australian Brad McGee. Heras went on to win the title but was stripped of the victory after testing positive for EPO. He then successfully challenged the validity of that test and was reinstated as the winner in 2012. The climb to Valdelinares is steady and, at 11km, is longer than anything that's gone before. Today's winner may not emulate Heras in taking the title but the overall contenders for the red jersey will become very evident.
José Azevedo says: "I rode this in 2005 and I know it's a complicated climb. There will probably be lots of wind early on in the stage, which creates another difficulty. The gc riders will want to gain time on each other at the toughest finish so far."