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Prototype wheels and saddles, cunning fixes and an arachnid
A custom stars-and-stripes machine for the triple national champion
From cocaine-fueled gangster themes to tiny details on the hubs
New brand Kemo cracks into the Tour with Bretagne
Highest point: 1,022m
Almost a week in and finally the sprinters get a stage without many obvious complications, although the heat in Extremadura can turn even the easiest of days into a horror show. The last time the Vuelta sped into Cáceres, German galloper Erik Zabel led the field home, which should give the sprinters a little more reason to be confident. The stage starts high up at almost a thousand metres, then drops steadily down to Plasencia, just before the halfway point, for a lumpy run-in, where any escapees are likely to be chased down. Cáceres, a relatively unspoiled medieval city that is a World Heritage site, is a stunning setting for the finish, with its imposing walls and towers dotted with storks' nests.
Yvon Ledanois: "I've spoken with Philippe Gilbert about some of these stages as he prepares for the Worlds and this is one that should suit him. The sprinters' teams will want to control towards the end, but that will be tough on rolling roads where small groups can get away."
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