Vuelta a España: Stage 17

Distance: 184.5km
Category: Rolling
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.

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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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