I hope the riders are feeling refreshed and rested after their rest day, because La Vuelta stops for no one. Over the next two stages, the peloton tackles a ‘race of truth’ against the clock and yet another summit finish showdown.
Tuesday 2 September: Stage 10 – Real Monasterio de Santa Maria de Veruela to Borja, 36.7km individual time trial
The first, and longest, of the two individual time trial stages at the Vuelta. This route starts out with an ascent of the cat 3 Alto del Moncayo at 11km and then descends to the finish at Borja.
It’s an interesting and well-balanced parcours, much like the time trial stage at the Vuelta last year. The first part of the course will suit more powerful riders and climbers, while the more technical second half will favour the time trial specialists.
I suspect the stage win will be a two-way battle between Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Fabian Cancellara (Trek). However, with only 30 seconds separating the top six riders on GC, there is everything to play for and we could see the red jersey swap shoulders again.
Things to watch out for: the height of Nairo Quintana’s over-shoes.
Wednesday 3 September: Stage 11, Pamplona to Santuario de San Miguel de Aralar, mountains, 153.4km
With the time trial effort still in their legs, the peloton departs Pamplona for a ride with a real sting in the tail. The first 110km are rolling, but look out for fireworks on the two climbs in the last 40km.
First we have the cat 2 Puerto di Lizarraga with its steep descent that may well see some attacking bravado. Then we move onto the cat 1 summit finish on Alto San Miguel de Aralar. This is a tough climb – 8% average over 11km – but there are some steeper sections where the gradient hits 14%.
Expect to see fast explosive climbers such as Alberto Contador or Joaquim Rodriguez tapping on those pedals like crazy.
Link: Official website
Header image: Parade of gigantes y cabezudos (giants and big-heads), Pamplona
“Comparsa pamplona jorge urdanoz” by Yiorsito – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons