Andorra la Vella > Tarragona 185km
Over the course of the next 4 stages, there should be 3 sprints. This is the first chance to see which of the fast men are feeling good, and there’s a big opportunity for someone to take their first grand tour win. The sprinting level here isn’t the highest, and with non-existent sprint trains, the finale could be chaotic. By the way, this isn’t an easy finish either.
Sunshine and temperatures will get close to 30 degrees by the time the riders hit the finish. The wind starts light, but does increase to near 20km/h, and it’s a crosswind.
Alto de Belltall is up first, 9.5km at 3.5%. With the wind hitting from the right, it’s going to be harder than the numbers suggest, if someone wants to push the pace.
Coll de Lilla is next, 4.6km at 5.5%. This isn’t an easy climb, but it takes place on a highway and that usually makes it seem easier. There’s a lovely tailwind all the way, they’ll fly up it.
The riders approach the finish on a two-lane highway, which has a couple of roundabouts to be negotiated. There’s a big one with 2.4km to go (right side only), so it will naturally stretch out the bunch. This is quickly followed by a small roundabout, the right-hand side is again the only way round, but the bunch won’t slow down for this one, it’s basically a straight road through. The final roundabout comes with 1.7km to go, it’s another huge one, and the riders must use the right-hand side.
Look at the gradients in the final 1.3km, they are pretty nasty. After the final roundabout, the road gets narrow for the next 400m, then the kickers start. At the flamme rouge, the bunch turn right and the road hits around 7% for just a second or two. It then levels out and starts to go slightly downhill with 900m to go, which takes them to the final roundabout with just 400m to go. It’s a hard left here and the road starts to rise. The initial ramp is 7%, which quickly goes down to 6% and it drops again to 3% for the final 100m. This isn’t an easy finish.
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