Stage 9: Alcoy - Xorret de Cati
Proycling's Analysis: For many riders, this will be as bad as stage eight. There’s one less climb than on the previous stage and the run into the finish features a fast descent but this is a very lumpy profile. Some sections are 20 per cent or worse.
Culture Vulture: Just to the south of today’s finish is the beautiful city of Elche, home to a spectacular palm grove comprising more than 200,000 trees. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 2000.
Local hero: Rubén Plaza, comes from Ibi, which the stage goes through. Twice the Spanish road champion, he won’t be riding here because his team – Liberty Seguros – wasn’t selected.
Vuelta Retro: This is the fourth visit to the Xorret de Catí since the mountain’s 1998 Vuelta debut.
Neil Stephens says: By this stage, it might be that two races within one have emerged; there will be guys going up the road for the stage and then the guys going for the general classification. It's a really solid finish and a solid stage all the way throughout. It's a taxing stage and the finish is spectacular. It's not an uphill finish, but that last little pinch is spectacular - a good stage to watch. There's a steep climb near the finish - 39x25 kind of stuff - then two or kilometres of fast descent. It's about 80 or 90km/h descending a windy road to the finish.
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