Stage 3: Vigo to Mirador de Lobeira/Vilagarcia de Arousa, 172.5km, flat
Today is flat all the way to the final few kilometres, when it turns into a nasty 5.7% cat 3 climb to the finish with sections of double-digit gradient. Obviously, the Vuelta organisers were having some fun with the sprinters when they described this stage as ‘flat’.
This stage is going to suit a classics rider or puncheur, such as Joaquim Rodriguez or Philippe Gilbert. And although the rest of the stage is all but pan-flat, the parcours is far from routine as much of it is run on coastal roads. The riders will need to be on their guard for the risk of crosswinds splitting the peloton into echelons.
The final climb is short but on a fairly narrow road which will see all the GC contenders and stage hunters jostling for those all-important front positions to avoid any potential crashes or other splits. So expect the pace in the final 10km or so approaching the finish to be consequently frenetic.
Bit of trivia: The points classification has been won four times by two men: Sean Kelly and Laurent Jalabert.
Link: Official site
Header image: The start town of Vigo.