The peloton goes back to the Puerto de Ancares, which featured for the first time last year. It’s a mother of a Cat 1 climb and it comes after four other climbs: two Cat 3s, a Cat 2 and a Cat 1 (in the form of the Alto Folgueiras de Aigas). The Ancares averages 8.1% over its 9.5km and, as we have seen all through this Vuelta, it’s a very hard climb at the end of a hard day. After a brief flat section in the middle, it’s toughest towards the top, with most of the last 4km at 10%-plus.
The GC boys can’t hang around and look at each other, however, as the next two stages are killers as well, so they need to ride with everything they’ve got. Chris Froome and Alejandro Valverde will need to take every opportunity possible to claw back the time they lost to the top two on Thursday’s final climb, so expect plenty of aggression in the closing kilometres. Should be a cracker of a stage!