With a GC clash on the finish climb we mean a fight for the stage win and probably the red jersey. It’s easy enough for the GC teams to control the race. The riders penetrate the rolling plains of south-eastern Spain towards the Alto de Cuatro Vientos, which is a gentle way to stretch the legs with its 11.2 kilometres at 3.4%.
Shortly after the descent the riders enter the Alto Collado Venta Luisa. This is a massive test of 28.6 kilometres long and an average percentage of 4.5%. Not steep, but it will surely add to the fatigue. Same goes for the Alto de Castro de Fiabres, a 6.2 kilometres climb at 3.5%.
The Castro de Fiabres is crested at kilometre 160 and right after the descent the route goes back up again. This time for real. The first kilometres are a false flat run-up to the village of Velefique and then it ramps up to 11.4% in the first kilometre. The route continues to ascend at double digit gradients for 3 kilometres before it flattens out to roughly 6%. The last 2 kilometres before the line are a false flat again.
The average gradient of the 13.2 kilometres from Velefique village to the summit sits at 7.3%.
Favourites 9th stage 2021 Vuelta a España
*** Primoz Roglic, Adam Yates, Enric Mas
** Mikel Landa, Miguel Ángel López, Richard Carapaz, Egan Bernal
* Mark Padun, Romain Bardet, Ion Izagirre, Rafal Majka, Michael Storer
Another interesting read: route 9th stage of the 2021 Vuelta.