The traditional final stage at the Volta a Catalunya, with a circuit around the Alto de Montjuic mountain, a day for the break or late attack. But yet again Valverde could be eyeing up another stage win.
The race heads out of the Catalan capital for 80km, taking in the cat 2 Alt de l’Ullastrell which is 7km long and averages 3.5% – not a challenge, but could see a break shoot of the front and try and force a gap in the preceding 60km before the start of eight loops of the Alto de Montjuic circuit. Fellow pro cycling blogger, Jamie Haughey created this Strava route of the circuit here, in isolation it’s not a testing climb, but after eight repeats the damage will be done and we’d expect the peloton to come back together during the hill reps before a lone rider or two attempts a winning move.
We’re just going to list the riders we thing could be in with a shot of pulling off such a move.
Geraint Thomas: Sky had an absolute shocker in yesterday’s stage, with the team finish twenty-six minutes down and just making the time cut. Not the first time they have been caught out like this in Spain! However, he has shown that he has good legs and the team will need an instant tonic for yesterday. Thomas was off colour on Lo Port, but the short sharp inclines of the final circuit could suit his Flandiran abilities and he’s got the engine to power away and make a gap stick.
Rein Taarmae: Katusha have had a race to forget and it was here last year that Alexy Tsatevich made his move from the morning break stick all the way to the finish. Taarmae has been quiet, but could be tempted to show himself in the break.
Gianluca Brambilla: His teammate Petr Vakoc was in the mix in yesterday’s finally and today could be the turn of the Italian. A great rider on short climbs and descents like this, plus he has a decent sprint.
Jarlinson Pantano: Was third here behind the two breakaway riders last year. He’s been a loyal servant to Contador this week and could be allowed a chance to grab some glory for himself today.
Michael Woods: Cannondale Drapac should throw as many riders a possible at this and try and break their duck. Micheal Woods is probably their best shot over a course likes this. We’ll keep praying that their fortune turns around at some point!
Alexis Vuillermoz: This is his first race of the year, so we haven’t expected much but he’s great on short climbs and could fancy giving the legs a good test before the Ardennes in a few weeks.
Jan Barta: The seasoned pro loves a breakaway and has the time trialling ability to make any gap he gets stick.
Julien Simon: We’ve mentioned him before and like Barta, he is very familiar with a breakaway attempt. The climbs will also suit him.
Jordi Simon: The sole serving member fo the Funvic/Basil Pro Cycling Team and being a local rider wad the main reason the team was invited to race. He’s done nothing to warrant that so far, so last chance for him today!
Our Pick: Pantano to get his chance and breakaway on the final ascent of the Alto de Montjuic