Vuelta 2016 Favourites stage 17: For (GC) attackers
Stage 17 is played out the day after the rest day on a route that's tailor made for attackers. Whether it's an escapee or a GC rider with a late attack, we can expect a big showdown at the flanks of Alto Más de la Costa. The 4 kilometres closing climb comes with an average gradient at 12.9% and steepest stretches at over 21%. (Slideshow route/profile)
In stage 17 the riders face four categorised climbs and even more uncategorised yet harsh uphill toils. Alto de Desierto de las Palmas, Alto de la Sarratella and Puerto de Benasal are all in the first 110 kilometres and following the drop a demanding route on undulating roads leads to the foot of the steep Alto Más de la Costa. Just before that climb the riders have to drag themselves up to the enchating village of Llucena del Cid, which would have been a categorised climb in all Grand Tours. But no, not in La Vuelta a España.
Big question is whether the GC riders are going to put pressure on one another when approaching Alto Más de la Costa in order to attack on climb itself. Obviously, a lot will depend on the overall rankings.
Whatever the case, the route is an open invitation to attack. One name springs to mind: El Pistolero.
Favourites 17th stage Vuelta a España
*** Alberto Contador, Thomas De Gendt, Esteban Chaves
** Tejay van Garderen, Alejandro Valverde, Andrew Talansky, Darwin Atapuma
* Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana, Robert Gesink, Joe Dombrowski
Vuelta a España 2016 Stage 17: Route maps, height profiles, etc
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