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Vuelta a España: Stage 8

Distance: 170km
Category: Mountains
Highest point: 970m

Although there are plenty of well known climbs in Andalucia, the Vuelta organisers have turned up another new one to test out the riders. The climb to Peñas Blancas should be impressive, too, as it climbs up from the shores of the Mediterranean at Estepona into the Bermeja massif that runs just behind and parallel to the coast. The approach to the final climb is not too tough and it would be no surprise to see the break of the day make it to the final ascent, which rises to 1,000 metres over 16km, giving an average of seven per cent. Although there are one or two much steeper ramps, mostly in the opening 3km, the climb's difficulty stems mainly from its length.

Abraham Olano: "This is a difficult stage for the riders with GC ambitions. It starts of easily enough and
the middle section is fairly straightforward but the last climb rises for 11km right from the coast. The GC contenders will definitely need good climbing legs today."

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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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