The finale of stage 7 of the Vuelta a España didn’t do exactly what it said on the tin. According the road book, there was to be a slope of 14 percent as the race entered the final two kilometres of the seemingly interminable haul up the Alto de Capileira.
With that in mind, Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) wound up for an attack with a little over 1,500 metres remaining, but on zipping off the front of the red jersey group, he was surprised to find that the promised terrain was not beneath his wheels.
Martin’s acceleration was reined back in shortly afterwards, but he had enough in reserve to hang tough when the red jersey group fragmented in the final 800 metres, and he crossed the line safely alongside the bulk of the overall contenders in 11th place.
“The finish was supposed to be ramps of 10, 11 13 percent and instead it’s 5 or 6 percent,” Martin told Cyclingnews afterwards. “It was the same yesterday and the day before. Obviously we get information from the finish line when the soigneurs see it but it’s not the same. It’s kind of strange and it maybe changed the race a little bit today because everyone was waiting for that steep part and the climb to the line.”