Stage 8: Jerez de la Frontera to Estepona, 166.6km, mountains
This first truly Andalusian stage could shake up the general classification, winnowing out the ones who’ve been hanging on and revealing some of the guys who will be fighting it out all the way to Madrid. It’s a summit finish on a new climb, the Alto Penas Blancas.
It’s going to be a tough old stage – it’s going to be hot, it’s going to be lumpy in the middle, then a flat run in to a long climb to the finish. The cat 1 Alto de Penas Blancas isn’t the steepest climb these guys will see this Vuelta but with an average gradient of 6.6% over 14.5km, it’s a sapper of a climb. The GC guys need to be ready for this from the start, with the two steepest sections of 11.5% and 12.5% coming in the first 2km of the climb. We’ll know a whole lot more about who’s really come to play and who’s merely playing by the end of this stage.
Bit of trivia: There are five riders who have won all three of the grand tours in their careers: Jacques Anquetil, Felice Gimondi, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Alberto Contador.
Link: Official site
Header image: A white Andalusian horse – these horses can dance!