September 4, Stage 12: Logroño - Logroño 166.4km

Vuelta stages don't come any more straightforward than this. The riders will cover eight laps of a 21km circuit in and around Logroño, one of the main centres for the production of Rioja wines. The circuit barely features any undulations and is consequently almost a dead cert for a bunch sprint in front of crowds treated to multiple views of the racers. In the 2012 edition of the Vuelta, what was exactly the same stage concluded with a sprint victory for John Degenkolb, who beat Daniele Bennati by half a wheel for the second of what would be five stage wins.

The GC contenders will be content to finish safely in the pack and know there's just one more stage to go before the serious high mountain action begins.

Sean Kelly says: "Even though it's a city circuit, the wind could still be a factor in this region. If it is blowing, the riders will quickly realise when it becomes a crosswind and will all want to be at the front at that point on the next lap. It'll make for aggressive racing."

Copyright: lavuelta.com

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