The race’s second weekend brings two very different mountain stages. The first heads through the home region of 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre, taking in the cat 1 Mijares pass and two cat 2 hills, the San Bartolomé de Pinares and the Alto de Santa María. There’s one final climb to the line in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, the first time this has been used as a stage finish. That final cat 3 ascent features ramps of up to 28 per cent, which could be the steepest ever to feature in a grand tour. If the previous climbs haven’t split the GC contenders, these ramps surely will.
Vuelta flashback 1994, Rominger seals a hat-trick with Induráin absent
The 1994 Vuelta was as much about who wasn’t on the startline as who was. Two-time defending champion Tony Rominger was back to lead what was now the Mapei-Clas team as Spanish superstar Miguel Induráin was away fine-tuning his Tour preparation at the Giro d’Italia. Rominger was riding for a half-Spanish team but there was little for home fans to get excited about. In fact, Spain didn’t have a single stage win to celebrate. By the time the race crossed the Puerto de Mijares on stage 18, Rominger was out of sight of his rivals, having led since the first day.
Highest point: 1,575m
Javier Guillén says...
"This is a beautiful stage and the famous monastery behind the finish is marvellous. The finish itself is a bit like the stage into Valdepeñas de Jaén as the ramps in the final kilometre reach 28 per cent. This is a real wall and it should provide a great spectacle."
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.