Paging all sprinters! This is your last call for stage-winning glory at the Vuelta.
Wednesday 10 September: Stage 17, Ortigueira to A Coruna, 190.7km, flat
There are no categorised climbs, but one look at the profile confirms this is a tough, rolling parcours featuring almost constant short, sharp climbs. After 60km the riders follow the twisty, narrow, open to the elements, coastal roads until they reach A Coruna itself. The final 2km of the run-in are on flat, smooth roads, and not that technical. Think sweeping bends rather than right-angled corners.
With GC teams looking to save energy for the next stages and the ascents making it tricky for sprint teams to control, this could be a day for the breakaway. Except that it’s a last chance for the sprinters and they will want to grab it. Brilliant, a nice, finely balanced stage to look forward to, and I’m hedging my bets on a sprint finish.
There are two intermediate sprint points at 78.2km and 171.9km. With John Degenkolb holding on to the green points jersey by a slim ten points, expect the Giants to lay it all down to ensure he gains both these and the stage win. Other names we might see in the mix are the Astana duo of Andrea Guardini and Jacopo Guarnieri, or maybe we could roll back the years again and see Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) or Pippo Pozzato (Lampre-Merida) battle it out. But for me, I’d love it if MTN-Qhuebeka could deliver a podium finish with Gerald Ciolek.
Link: Official website
Header image: Breogán statue and the Tower of Hercules in A Coruña