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Vuelta a España: Stage 15

Distance: 232.5km
Category: High mountains
Highest point: 2,070m

After a tour of Andorra's major passes, the peloton is set to head over the ridge of the range and into France for the queen stage, which pays homage to the 100th edition of the Tour de France. There are four first-category climbs on the menu, starting with the long ascent of the Cantó and continuing with the even lengthier climb up the Bonaigua for a very rapid descent into France. Two Tour favourites, the Port de Balès and the Peyresourde, are next up, before the final short climb up to Peyragudes. First visited by the Tour de France last year, Peyragudes will again , like the Collada de Gallina, bring back happy memories for Alejandro Valverde, who won there on his Tour comeback.

Abraham Olano: "After a very hard stage in Andorra the day before and with a complicated stage to come the day after, this will be a tough test. It's a very long stage and I can see the whole race blowing apart. It may not decide the winner but it should clarify the podium contenders."  

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014). 

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