Once a fixture around the mid-point of almost every grand tour, it now seems strange to find a long time trial in the middle of the Vuelta. At 47km, this one is long enough for any GC contendor with TT ability to reverse any losses they may have suffered so far and to gain time on the mountain goats. The route climbs from Salamanca towards the village of Morille before easing back down into Salamanca and rising at the end into the finish, splendedly set in the city’s Plaza Mayor. The westerly wind could be a key factor today before the first rest day.
Vuelta flashback 1994, A tangle with team-mates ends Cipollini’s season
The finish into Salamanca in 1994 was long and wide, making it ideal for the sprinters. Yet somehow there stilln’t enough room for team-mates Adriano Baffi and Mario Cipollini. At 200m out, both switched to the left, with Baffi leading the way. Seeing a gap along the barriers, Cipo went further left but Baffi unceremoniously shut the gate. The helmetless Cipollini somersaulted head first into the tarmac as Baffi powered on to win, only to be stripped of victory.
"I didn’t touch him at all…” protested Baffi. “Had I known it was Cipollini I might have let him pass. Or perhaps not…"
Highest point: 955m
Category: Time trial
Johnny Weltz says...
"It’s not normal for the Vuelta to have a very long time trial like this and it will really suit guys like Denis Menchov, who could make major gains. The terrain is flat but it can be very windy. Like last year’s time trial, this will throw up some surprises."
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.