These next three stages start out rolling then end with a summit finish – the first one of this year’s Vuelta. But certainly not the last.
Tuesday, 26 August: Stage 4 – Mairena del Alcor to Cordoba, rolling, 164.7km
Tra la la … the peloton will be pedalling along its merry way on the flat part of this stage for a good 100km before – ooof, what’s that? It’s a steepish Cat 3 climb, the wonderfully named Alto de San Jeronimo. Tra la la … then they ride a descent, at the bottom of which is an intermediate sprint stage, and then up the Cat 2 Alto del Catorce por Ciento – or the 14 per cent pass. This will split the peloton up – it’ll certainly drop a few sprinters – then it’s a descent into Cordoba. Could be the day for a break as the sprint trains won’t have time to regroup after that last climb.
Wednesday 27 August: Stage 5 – Priego de Cordoba to Ronda, rolling, 180km
This has never been a Grand Tour for the sprinters, that’s for sure. Today’s stage might look like it has a sprint finish but the Cat 3 climb in the last 20km or so will probably break the peloton up. After about the halfway point in the stage, the roads get winding, which makes for nervous riders.
Thursday, 28 August: Stage 6 – Benalmadena to La Zubia, mountains, 167.1km
We have our first high altitude finish today, so this’ll be a stage that should make the GC boys frisky and animated (the way we like them best!). The stage starts out flat before it hits the Cat 2 climb of Alto de Zafarraya, then some snaggley bits before the Cat 3 Alto de los Bermejales. This takes the peloton to a long descent (which includes two intermediate sprint stages almost one right after the other) before a short (4.6km) and very sharp (gradients averaging 7.8, with sections at nearly 13%) summit finish on Alto Cumbres Verdes.
Link: Official website
Header image: “West wall of the Synagogue of Córdoba” by Américo Toledano