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September 10, Stage 18: Roa de Duero - Riaza 204 km

This is a stage that looks odds-on for a breakaway to make it to the finish, although there’s a possible complication in the shape of the first-category Puerto de la Quesara, which tops out just a dozen downhill kilometres from the line.

The stage starts easily enough but begins to roller-coaster after the climb of the Campanario. This terrain should suit the break’s chances but the GC contenders will certainly give the final ascent of the Quesara everything, which won’t suit those out front. They’ll come at it via its steeper flank from Guadalajara.

The final 7km averages a modest six per cent but even a small advantage gained by the summit could well be maintained to the finish.


David López (Team Sky rider):

"I don’t know this area at all but the profile makes very clear that it’s going to be a tough day, constantly up and down. I’d almost guarantee that a breakaway with some strong riders will go away and will probably stay clear to the finish, as that final climb will be too tough for most of the sprinters."

The text in this preview originally appeared in the September edition of Procycling magazine.

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