The peloton faces six categorised climbs on the third stage of the Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco, with the last one topping out at only 10.5 km from the finish line. But the multiple climbs can actually "make the race calmer," according to defending champion Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo).
There is only one category 1 climb, the Santa Ageda, just over halfway into the 160.5 km stage. It is preceded by the category 3 Udana and the category 2 Mandubia, and followed by three more category 3 climbs. Since the closing climbs are smaller and less difficult, a third sprint finish is not out of the question.
Asked if the finish would be more nervous because of the final climb, Contador said, "Once the climbs arrive, the nerves disappear. That makes the race calmer. We must be alert to the movements because there are very explosive riders." The Spaniard goes into the stage 113th overall, but still on the same time as race leader Michael Matthews (Sunweb).
Stage 2 was one "where we had to be attentive to the wind, but it was not intense enough to cut the peloton, although we had to pay attention. In the final part had to be well placed because there was a lot of tension and any fall can cause you to lose time. The team helped me and we saved the day without problems."
At one point, Contador was seen riding through the team cars back up to the peloton. No crash had been involved, just a mechanical problem, which was dealt with smoothly. "We were going over a wide road and I took something with the wheel, but we were still with 50 kilometres to go and although it was going very fast, I changed the wheel with Cardoso and we solved the issue without problems."