Stage 8: Baeza - Albacete
Vuelta stages that don't feature a categorised climb of any kind are rare things. Consequently, the sprinters will be doubly determined to make the most of this fleeting opportunity. The wind could complicate things for them, however. The road across the open plains to Albacete is wide open, although the prevailing wind from the south-east could well push the bunch along at an accelerated pace rather than splitting it apart.
The finish in the centre of Albacete is ideal for the sprinters. The last time the Vuelta raced into the city in 2003, defending champion Aitor González abandoned before the finish and the Spaniard's Fassa Bortolo team-mate Alessandro Petacchi beat Erik Zabel to the finish line in the bunch sprint.
Javier Guillén says: "This is the only stage of more than 200km, which is very deliberate on our part. We want every stage to be explosive, to provide a spectacle for the hour or two that it's on TV. In addition, the Vuelta's at the end of the season and we are aware the riders are quite tired."
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