C-Cycling - Vuelta a España 2015 Preview and Favorites

04/09 - Stage 13 - Calatayud to Tarazona - 178 km

On paper, this is a stage tailor-made for a strong breakaway. The sprinters had their say on stage 12. Today - with nearly 2500 meters of climbing - it will be very difficult for the teams of the sprinters to control it. The riders start climbing right from the beginning of the day with 6 km of 4-5 %. Knowing a break will have a good chance of making it all the way, we can expect lots of attacks.

Several climbs awaits the riders within the first 72 km of racing. If a break hasn’t gone clear already, I would expect it to happen on Alto de Beratón. This category 1 climb is 10.9 km long and has an average gradient of 4.7 %. The first part isn’t very hard but the last 6 km kick up with about 6.5 %. From the top, the peloton take on a long descent of 45 km. After a short uncategorized climb, the riders reach the intermediate sprint. Right after this, they start climbing again. Alto del Moncayo is a very steady climb. The gradients constantly stay around 4-5 % on the 8.7 km towards the top. A few kilometers of false flat follows upon reaching the top of the climb. After a short uphill part, it’s time for another long descent.

The final kilometers aren’t very difficult. However, if a big group arrives together, it’s very important to be well-placed when the road starts to kick up after the roundabout on the last 2 km. After this uphill part, it’s slightly up-and-down for the remaining part of the stage. With 300 meters to go, a left-hand bend leads the riders onto the final stretch. Only the last 250 meters are straight-out and flat.

C-Cycling - Vuelta a España 2015 Preview and Favorites

The pack managed to catch the break on stage 10 despite the late climb. This time, I doubt it will happen. One of the reasons is that there are at least 1000 meters of climbing more than on stage 10. It’s constantly up and down, which makes an organized chase very difficult. Furthermore, the riders are getting tired and I think Giant-Alpecin will start to focus more on Tom Dumoulin’s overall chances.

This means that we should look to strong and opportunistic riders like Adam Hansen, Alessandro De Marchi, Steve Cummings, Niki Terpstra, Ruben Plaza and José Gonçalves. In case Giovanni Visconti is okay again after his crash the other day, he might be a good outsider too since Movistar now seems out of the fight for the overall win. The same goes for Vasil Kiryienka. Team Sky doesn’t have a real contender for the podium. Mikel Nieve is strong but I don’t see him as a podium candidate. However, Team Sky is still leading the team classification and that is a big goal for them now. Therefore, they need to put a rider in the break. Kiryienka has pulled off big stage wins in the grand tours before. It won’t be a surprised if he does it again today.

For live coverage of the stage, go to steephill.tv.

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