Stage 7: Valencia - Valencia
Proycling's Analysis: An impressive circuit that marks the end of the first third of the race and should see the first overall contenders emerge. The 30km test starts at the Americas Cup on the Med. Pan-flat, it heads inland into Valencia itself and includes a circuit of the F1 motor-racing circuit. The finish line is the same spot where the chequered flag is waved.
Culture Vulture: Previously a poor relation to Madrid and Barcelona, Spain’s third city has been revitalised in recent decades with much of the credit going to Local-born architect Santiago Calatrava.
Local hero: Long-term home to the Kelme team, Valencia was once a hub for pro racing in Spain. 2001 Vuelta winner Ángel Casero hails from the city and the ex-Festina rider now works in property.
Vuelta Retro: The 2002 race started with a 24.5km team time trial, which began just outside of the city. Victory that day put Joseba Beloki into the leader’s golden jersey.
Neil Stephens says: Alejandro should go alright on this stage. In the time trial, he's got to try and limit his losses; guys like Cadel Evans might be able to peg him back a little there, but that's the first major test for us. It's followed by some solid stages. So there's the TT then the first set of mountain stages coming up after that which is where the big-time differences are going to start to appear for the first time in this Vuelta.
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