Looks like the sprinters are going to get their day in the sun – possibly two days, even! – in stages 4 and 5, which are flatter than any stages I’ve seen in the Vuelta in a long time. Stage 6 gets back to the medium mountains and the second of nine summit finishes.
Tuesday 25th August: Stage 4 –Estepona to Vejer de la Frontera, 209.6km, flat
This is one of the longest stages of the three weeks as the peloton loops around the southern tip of Spain, riding coastal roads from Estepona to San Roque before cutting across the interior to reach Puerto Real and Cadiz, then turning south for Vejer de la Frontera. As you can see by the profile, there’s not a lot here to trouble the peloton (and we can expect commentators to talk a lot of nothing, possibly about building patios) and the temperature is forecast for the mid-30s so not too hot. Oh, but what is that at the end of the stage? It’s two hard uphills perfect for puncheurs and after a long day, those who want to win this stage will have to make two big efforts. This could be perfect for Peter Sagan or the Mighty Degs but don’t discount Purito.
Wednesday 26th August: Stage 5 – Rota to Alcalá de Guadaira, 167.3km, flat
Okay, now this is flat and there are no big surprises at the end of this stage so a bunch sprint is almost guaranteed. While there might not be a surprise at the end, we could have some echelon action today, as it’s a coastal ride for the first half of the stage and flat, treeless countryside for the second half before they ride into one of Andalucia’s most beautiful towns, Alcala de Guardaira.
Thursday 27th August: Stage 6 – Córdoba to Sierra de Cazorla, 200.3km, medium mountain
I sure hope the riders enjoyed the flatness of the past few days because today it’s up and down and rockin’ and rollin’ all stage long, including two cat 3 climbs, one at the very end. It’s a long stage, it’s going to be a hot stage and the finish is particularly sadistic with the first ever finish on the Alto de Cazorla. The last 2km are the steepest and toughest of the whole stage. The word ‘steep’ makes me think Purito or Valverde but maybe Esteban Chaves will have another crack at a stage finish!
Link: Official race website