Stage 12: Ponteareas - Pontevedra
A rare sprinting opportunity
The grand tour organisers have been pretty miserly in their offerings to sprinters and rouleurs this year, effectively pressuring them to take advantage of stages like this. It features two cat 3 climbs that will give hope to breakaway riders but these are so far from the finish that the sprinters’ teams are sure to launch a determined chase of any escapees. The route heads into Pontevedra with 60km remaining, then out again. There are a couple of small lumps in the final 20km but nothing severe enough that it should derail the sprinters from their stage-winning objective.
Vuelta flashback 1980, When Rupérez stood tall and king Kelly emerged
It’s 31 years since the last stage finish in Pontevedra, when Belgium’s Etienne De Wilde sprinted home to victory. The big surprise that day was that 23-year-old Irishman Sean Kelly had been denied. Kelly bagged five stage wins that year as well as the points and sprints titles and fourth place overall. The title went to Faustino Rupérez, who had been fourth the previous year as a new pro. Rupérez took the lead on stage 5 in the Pyrenees and clung on. After retiring in 1985, he became the only man to win the Vuelta as a rider and a team manager when he oversaw Kelly’s victory at the 1988 race.
Highest point: 400m
Javier Guillén says...
“We’re heading to Galicia for the first time in a few years and into the capital of the province of Pontevedra with a stage that will mix coastal and inland sections. It’s not too long and finishes with three laps on a circuit that will show off this fine city.”
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