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Vuelta a España - Stage 3

Distance: 157km
Highest point: 905m
Terrain: Medium mountains
Category: Road stage

Peaking ahead

Stage 3 starts with a long drag out of Marbella. With two cat 1 climbs falling towards the end of the route, the initial cat 3 climb is sure to see plenty of action as the riders attempt to get into the break of the day. The course then drops steadily down to Málaga, where the climbing starts in earnest. The Puerto de León isn't massively high, but the 900m gain in altitude will seem like a lot to the peloton after starting from just a few meters above sea level, especially since they've got to do it twice. This climb could well bring out the likely contenders for the red jersey too, particularly given the kick up to the line over the final 1,500m offers the potential reward of a stage win.

Inside knowledge:

Andalucía-Cajasur are one of six wild card picks for the race, and their best chance of a stage win on home ground falls either today or tomorrow when there's enough climbing to shake out the top sprinters. They'll be looking to team leaders José Ángel Gómez Marchante, Manuel Vázquez and Ángel Vicioso to provide results, and the latter should fancy his chances in Málaga given his ability on the climbs and rapid turn of finishing speed.

Matt White says:

"This is another one that you've got to be able to climb to get through. And don't forget it could be incredibly hot down in this region at the end of August. They're not easing them in with sprint stages, are they?"

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