Although the 2 climbs are only cat 3,they both pose some problems.The 1st one is 6km at 5.4% and the 2nd is 5.8km at 5.6%,and they are separated by only 20km.
This is a close up of the 2nd climb.Officially it is 5.8km at 5.6% but it is split into 2 sections,with the last 2km looking at being an average of 10%.The Vuelta is famous for throwing in a cat 3 climb that’s very difficult and this is one of them!
After this the riders have 50km till the finish.This should be time enough for any distanced sprinters to re-join,but there is an uncategorised climb waiting for them with just under 10km to go.
It’s a very short distance but tough on the legs.
It is going to be very tough to control this stage.There will be the normal break and if it doesn’t contain Nicolas Edet(KOTM holder) it will contain one of his Cofidis teammates,as they look to defend the jersey.It could be Mate or Zingle.The cat 3 climbs offer 6 points in total and it would be a good idea for Edet to claim these and cement his position.
Caja Rural have been involved in nearly all breaks and if Txurruka is still keen on polka dots then he should go for the break,if not,look for Piedra or Aramendia.
After such a hard few days,and a rest day,the condition of most of the riders will be questionable.Consider that teams have depleted numbers and I think it’ll be very difficult for the sprinters teams to control.
The sprinters left and how many teammates they have is as follows:-
Arndt,Argos – 7
Wagner,Belkin – 3
Lasca,Caja – 7
Roux,FDJ – 6
Farrar,Garmin – 4
Richeze,Lampre – 7
Meersman,OPQS – 3
Matthews,Orica – 4
EBH,Sky – 7
On the previous sprint stages Orica and OPQS have worked hard and they have sometimes been helped by Argos,Garmin and Lampre.If these teams want a sprint they will all have to help each other.
I just don’t see their being enough workers in the peloton to bring a break back,so I don’t think we’ll see a sprint.
Other men for the break are:Flecha,Hoogerland,Clarke,Hansen,Paterski,Grivko,Gastauer and Preidler.
A favourite still hasn’t won a stage of the Vuelta and Michael Matthews is the bookies choose.I wonder if the curse of the favourite will continue ………
No recommended bets,don’t trust the sprinters!