Saturday, August 31, 2013

Preview of stages 8 to 10 2013 Vuelta a España

Three consecutive uphill finishes coming up on stages 8-10 before the stage-11 time trial.

Stage 8 on the map
Stage 8 Saturday is a big summit finish on the Alto de Peñas Blancas. The climb is 14.5k averaging 6.6%, with a maximum gradient of 12.5%. It rises almost a thousand meters in that span, and is a category 1 climb.

Stage 8 Profile

Final cat-1 climb of stage 8

As you can see in the profile, the climb is steep at the bottom, then levels off a bit for a couple kilometers before kicking up again for nine long kilometers to the summit.
The GC contenders will have a good battle on Saturday.


Stage 9 Profile

Stage 9 final 5k

Stage 9 on Sunday is a good opportunity for a breakaway. The category 2 climb at km142 is 6.1% average and tops out about 16.2k from the finish. The last kilometer tilts up to the finish line.


Stage 10 Profile

Stage 10's two tough climbs

Stage 10 ends with two big, painful climbs. The final climb to the finish is 15.8k long, but pay no attention to the average gradient. It includes the 3 kilometers of flat and descending road that precedes the real beast. The final 7+ kms are very steep, with max gradients approaching 20%. The first rest day follows, so stage 10 should see a good battle among the GC guys.

Pick your favorite climbers. The big steep finishes will offer guys like Purito and Pozzovivo a chance to gain back some lost time. I think Valverde and Uran should also shine this weekend. It will good to see if Horner and Roche and especially Zubeldia can keep their high places after these climbs.

My pick for stage 8: Domenico Pozzovivo

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