Stage 17: Calahorra - Burgos
Highest point: 1,240m
The second rest day comes at the end of the Pyrenean stages and before the final encounter with the mountains in Asturias. Burgos has become one of the Vuelta's preferred stepping-of points after transitioning through the Pyrenees, featuring most years on the route since the mid-90s and usually ending in a bunch sprint, with Mark Cavendish, Óscar Freire and Alessandro Petacchi among former victors. Two third-category climbs in the second half of the stage provide reason for optimism among those who get into the break of the day. However, the second of them tops out 50km from the finish, giving the sprinters' teams plenty of time to chase down the day's hares.
José Azevedo: "This is not a hard stage. The only complication could be the wind, as it's very open around Logroño and Burgos and you're pretty high up at around 800m all day. The sprinters' teams should take control. It's one of the six or seven days that suit them."
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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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