Heat, dust and altitude at Vuelta a España hits the heights in Andalusia - Preview

MOLINA DE ARAGON, SPAIN - AUGUST 17: The peloton passing through a landscape during the 76th Tour of Spain 2021, Stage 4 a 163,9km stage from El Burgo de Osma to Molina de Aragón 1134m / @lavuelta / #LaVuelta21 / on August 17, 2021 in Molina de Aragón, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Vuelta a España stage 9 will be one of the toughest of three-week race (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Less than half an hour’s drive away from the Vuelta a España’s summit finish of Velefique on Sunday, fans of Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti western movies can still visit the original film sets, complete with stagecoaches, wigwams and bullet-riddled saloons. But if paying homage to Eastwood’s cowboys and gunslingers doesn’t appeal, don’t worry: on Sunday the chances of a two-wheeled GC shoot-out in the Vuelta a España are also extremely high.

Stage 9 features the two highest mountains of the entire race, for one thing. There’s the Alto de Collado Venta Luisa at 1,970 metres above sea level, two thirds of the way through the 188 kilometre stage, and then the Velefique summit finish, a fraction lower at 1,800 metres and the first hors categorie finish of the 2021 Vuelta.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Alasdair Fotheringham

Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 bar one, as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. As well as working for Cyclingnews, he has also written for The IndependentThe GuardianProCycling, The Express and Reuters.