Vuelta a España 2021: Stage 2 preview

Stage 2: Caleruega to Burgos Gamonal

Date: August 15, 2021 

Distance: 167km 

Stage timing: 13:38 - 17:30 CEST

Stage type: Flat

Vuelta a España stage 2 preview video

The Vuelta a España’s second stage pays tribute to another important religious site, starting in Caleruega, where Santo Dominico de Guzmán, the founder of the Dominican order, was born in 1170. Perhaps best remembered now as the saint who gave his name to two countries, the Dominican Republic and Dominica, he died 800 years ago in 1221.

The stage starts in the shadow of the monastery erected in his memory in the heart of the small Castilian town of Caleruega. It will suit what is likely to be a very select group of specialist sprinters on the start line, headed by Lotto-Soudal’s Caleb Ewan, Deceuninck-QuickStep’s Fabio Jakobsen, UAE Team Emirates’ Matteo Trentin, BikeExchange’s Michael Matthews and Team DSM’s emerging Italian talent Alberto Dainese, who’s set for his Grand Tour debut.

This is the rarest of things on a Vuelta route, a stage without a categorised climb. But that’s not to say that it is sure to be straightforward. The wind can always be a factor on Castile’s high plateau, across which the race will undulate very gently. The sprinters have a first opportunity to test each other at the intermediate sprint in Tardajos, 17 kilometres from the finish, just to the west of Burgos.

The finish line is located on broad expanse of Calle Vitoria in the Burgos suburb of Gamonal, to the east of the city centre, the road flat for the final 2.5km. On current form, Dutchman Jakobsen, a double stage-winner on his only previous Grand Tour outing at the 2019 Vuelta, should start as favourite for victory based on his two recent wins at the Tour of Wallonia.

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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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