The first leg in a mountain triptych begins in the Basque capital of Vitoria and finishes at the Fuente del Chivo, a handful of kilometres above the ski station of Alto Campoo, which has hosted three stage finishes, the last of them in 1993.
The peloton’s pace should increase on the first-cat Puerto del Escudo, which averages nine per cent over 7km. Riders will rejoin the main group as the road flattens out on a plateau for 40km but the GC contenders will soon emerge on the 17km ascent to the finish.
The climb is straightforward up to Brañavieja, where stages used to finish, but the road gets steeper beyond that, although perhaps not steep enough to split the favourites decisively.
David López (Team Sky rider):
"I know these roads really well as they pass through my home region. The final climb isn’t too hard but it climbs all the way up to a ski station so it is quite long."
The text in this preview originally appeared in the September edition of Procycling magazine.