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Vuelta a España 2021: Stage 12 preview

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Profile stage 12 of 2021 Vuelta a España

Profile stage 12 of 2021 Vuelta a España (Image credit: Unipublic)
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Map stage 12 of 2021 Vuelta a España

Map stage 12 of 2021 Vuelta a España (Image credit: Unipublic)

Stage 12: Jaén - Córdoba

Date: August 26, 2021 

Distance: 175km 

Stage timing: 12:56 - 17:30 CEST

Stage type: Hilly

Vuelta a España stage 12 preview video

This is a nicely balanced stage, one that’s sure to tempt some strong riders into the breakaway but could end up with victory going to one of the more versatile sprinters at the Vuelta. It commences in Jaén, travelling west via Porcuna and El Carpio to reach the beautiful city of Córdoba. The riders will pass through the finish line three times, completing two different loops before the finale.

Just a few hundred metres after the first passage through the line, they’ll reach the intermediate sprint. Once through it, they’ll keep tracking westwards to climb the third-category Puerto de San Jerónimo, 13km long but not a severe test, averaging a mere 3.3 per cent. The descent away from the pass is considerably steeper, and will soon have the riders back into Córdoba.

Following the second passage through the finish area, the riders will head north, soon reaching the foot of the ominously named Puerto de Catorce Por Ciento – the 14 per cent pass! There is indeed a brief section at that percentage in the final kilometre, which averages a touch more than 11 per cent. Yet the preceding half-dozen kilometres average around five.

The designation of the 14 per cent pass as a bonus point will add a little more spice to the contest to conquer it. When it featured in 2014, Winner Anacona, then with Lampre, won that battle, but the Colombian was reeled in before the finish. That could well be the fate of the first riders over it on this occasion, as there are still 18km remaining to the line, giving the sprinters the chance to get back in contention and perhaps emulate John Degenkolb, who led the bunch home at the end of that 2014 stage.

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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