Mataró > Barcelona 182km
The first proper stage of the race, and what a finish it’s going to be. The stage starts in Mataró, which is just a little bit up the coast from Barcelona, it then heads out into the hills before coming back into Barcelona for a finish in the Montjuïc park area of town. You’ll know it, the final stage of Catalunya uses these roads, but it’s not exactly the same. The Vuelta used this finish back in 2012, here’s a look at that day.
70-80% chance of rain throughout the day. It doesn’t sound like Spain in August.
It’s all about Castell de Montjuïc. This is the punchy climb, which is in final stage of Catalunya, but they only added going all the way to the cable car station a couple of years ago. You’re talking 800m at 11%, with a maximum of 16%. The climb does seem to go on forever, but as the bunch hit this after a relatively easy day, will it be hard enough to see splits? There are 6, 4 and 2 seconds at the top of the hill for the first three across.
From the crest there’s 3.6km to go. There’s 2.1km of a very fast descent, before the road starts to rise to the finish, about 1.5km at 3.8%. If wet, this isn’t going to be great.
If you know the Catalunya stage well, when the riders get to the bottom of the fast descent, they normally take a tight right-hand bend, but in this stage, they go left and then start to loop around and go up the road towards the Olympic Stadium. In the Catalunya stage, the riders descend this bit of road heading towards the finishing line.
The uphill drag to the line is grippy, 1.5km at 3.8% doesn’t sound much, but you need a big punch to challenge for the win.
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