Vuelta a España 2012: Stage 9 preview

Finish outside Olympic stadium

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Distance: 194km

Highest point: 885m

Category: Rolling

Olympian finish

It’s 13 years since the Vuelta finished in Spain’s second city and it reappears with an intriguing run-in not unlike the one that featured in the 2009 Tour de France, when Thor Hushovd stormed his way up the final drag to victory. It’s a surprisingly long stage considering the race will transfer across the country after it. Starting in Andorra, it drops into Catalonia, crossing a cat 3 climb on the way. The route then drops steadily all the way into Barcelona. The riders then have to negotiate the steep ramps of the famous Montjuich climb, before the run-up to the finish outside Barcelona’s Olympic stadium.

Markel Irizar: "By this point the GC should be sorted so a breakaway could stay clear to the finish, which is uphill and quite tough so the sprinters’ teams might not want to pull on the front. I think this could be too hard for the likes of Cavendish, for example."

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