Stage 13: Valls to Castelldefels, 169km, rolling
Although the finish looks like one for the sprinters, they will have to get over the vicious Alto del Rat Penat and then deal with an uphill finish. Perhaps equally likely, this may be a day for a successful breakaway given what is to come over the next three days.
Today the GC guys will again let a break go as the coming weekend is all about brutal climbs and they’ll want to save their teams and their legs for three mega days in the Pyrenees. The Alto del Rat Penat at about two-thirds distance is just 4.3km long but averages 10.6%. Ouch. We could very well see a young rider making his first grand tour statement on this stage. Look for every team which has yet to taste success to try to get a rider into what could end up being quite a large escape, with the sprinters’ teams desperate to retain control.
Bit of trivia: Today’s stage start in Valls will begin with a tribute to local hero Xavier Tondo, who died tragically two years ago in an accident prior to a training ride.
Link: Official site
Header image: Xavier Tondo, 1978-2011