Vuelta a España: Stage 3

Distance: 172.5km
Category: Flat
Highest point: 250m

Can a stage with a summit finish be described as flat? The route of this stage suggests it can. Although the riders face a vicious climb at the finish, the final ascent is short and there's barely a bump of note before they reach it. The Lobeira 'lookout' provides a stunning 360-degree view of the coastline and region around Vilagarcía de Arousa – not that the riders will be interested in that. The final climb isn't as tough as last year's ascent of the Mirador de Ezaro, where Joaquim Rodríguez gained valuable seconds on his rivals. Yet its average grade of 10 per cent over more than 2km will line out the peloton significantly. The gaps between the GC contenders will be a matter of seconds.

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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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