Vuelta a Espana Stage 8 - Preview

With a mere 2,618 metres of vertical gain, this stage between two towns that regularly feature on the Volta a Catalunya itinerary gives the sprinters a chance to return to the centre of the action. There is only one categorised climb all day, the second-category Puerto de Montserrat, topping out 27 kilometres from the finish.

From the start in Valls, home town of Xavier Tondo, who died in a tragic accident during a training camp at Sierra Nevada in 2011, the route sweeps north and east into the heart of Catalunya, rolling gently and then dropping towards the intermediate sprint at Sant Joan de Villatorada. Continuing south through Manresa, the riders will then climb up on to the Montserrat massif on the eponymous pass.

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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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