Stage 19: S Vicente Barquera to Oviedo. alto Naranco, 181km, medium mountain
The second of the last three summit finishes of this year’s Vuelta, this is almost the lull before the storm of tomorrow. The final climb of Alto del Naranco up to the statue of Christ isn’t particularly difficult so it’s just a matter of keeping cool and staying with your rivals today.
This stage is almost like one last exhale before the peloton has to tackle tomorrow’s Angliru finish. But that doesn’t mean anyone can relax – especially as it’s Friday the 13th and cyclists are a superstitious lot. It’s not a difficult stage by any means, but it is at the end of three very tough weeks and the guys will be tired. I expect the GC contenders will let an escape go away while they sit together all day and I also expect a Carrot to make a bid for glory in this stage, as a nod to their new owner, Fernando Alonso.
Bit of trivia: Oviedo is the birthplace of top Carrot, Samuel Sanchez, so the slopes of Naranco will be filled with Samu fans, cheering their local hero on.
Link: Official site
Header image: Castle of San Juan de Priorio, Oviedo