Highest point: 1,260m
Terrain: Medium mountains
Category: Road stage
This should be the scene of another set-piece battle between a plucky group of breakaway riders and the combined chasing forces of the sprinters' teams. The two cat 3 climbs towards the end of the stage will favour the breakaways, but the riding conditions may not. The terrain heading into Burgos is extremely open and the wind that barrels across this landscape could be hard for a small group to handle, tipping the advantage back towards the much larger group chasing behind.
This isn't too dissimilar to last year's second-week stage into Córdoba, which was won by Rabobank's Lars Boom after an impressive show of power took him clear from the breakaway group on the run-in to the finish. Not too far behind the big Dutchman that day was Milram's Martin Velits. Now with HTC-Columbia, the Slovak road race champion is set to be part of a strong line-up. It should also include his twin brother, Peter Velits, who missed the Tour de France after breaking his collarbone at the Criterium du Dauphiné in June. Of the pair, Peter has the strongest sprint and he could well make that count if he rediscovers his early season form.
Matt White says:
"This profile looks a bit deceptive, since you're only climbing at about 4 per cent, but it may still be slightly too hard for the sprint guys. But even they'll appreciate the difficulty of the stages with the Worlds in mind."
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