The Vuelta’s only individual time trial will favour those who specialise in riding against the clock but also the strongest riders near the top of the leaderboard.
Configured in a figure of eight, it’s essentially flat, although there’s a steady rise from the start up to the Castillo. From there it’ll be a case of who can turn the biggest gear the fastest, with contenders for the upcoming World Time Trial Championship sure to be favoured, assuming they haven’t slunk away given the lack of favourable terrain up to this point.
There shouldn’t be much between the red jersey contenders but there’s the chance one of them might suffer a disastrous day as Joaquim Rodríguez did at Peñafiel in 2010.
Javier Guillén (race director):
"In recent years the courses have had more climbing and have suited riders like Rodríguez, Valverde and Contador but we have changed the format for this one. The profile is basically flat so that the rouleurs have a chance to shine but we’ve added some spice with the early climb up to the Castillo."
The text in this preview originally appeared in the September edition of Procycling magazine.