Stage 7: Almadén - Talavera de la Reina
Last sprint before the mountains
This stage takes the race into the Sistema Central ranges that run across the centre of the country but doesn’t feature a single categorised climb. That doesn’t mean it will be straightforward, though. The bumpy route makes it ideal for breakaways, as demonstrated in 2009 when five riders broke away in the first 10km only to see their substantial lead trimmed back to seconds. However, one of the group, Anthony Roux, just held off the charging bunch to claim victory. The sprinters’ teams aren’t likely to make the same mistake again, especially with two mountain stages to come.
Vuelta flashback 1950, Spain’s national tour teeters on the brink
Talavera de la Reina first featured on the Vuelta route in 1950, which was arguably the least successful edition of the race. Featuring just 42 riders, of whom only 26 made it to Madrid, it was dominated by the Rodríguez brothers, Emilio and Manuel, who finished first and second overall, Emilio winning six stages along the way. There had been no Vuelta the previous year and the rather processional progress in 1950 played a part in the race’s disappearance for the following five, although the increasing isolation of the Franco regime was also a very significant factor.
Highest point: 705m
Johnny Weltz says...
"This is typical of a Vuelta stage that at first glance might suit the sprinters but could actually cause them some problems. For a start, these roads are rolling and tend to be very heavy. Once again, the wind could have an impact on the outcome too."
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