This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.
Highest point: 635m
Easy does it
When Vuelta route director Abraham Olano looked for a course for the race’s opening road stage, he looked to Navarran cycling heroes Miguel Indurain and Vicente García Acosta and considered the difficulty of the stages just ahead. Consequently, they decided against the inclusion of the tough ascent of the Etxauri. Although the road bumps up and down, there is just one categorised climb, the cat 3 Alto de la Chapela, where the first rider over the top will guarantee himself at least a day in the King of the Mountains jersey. The slightly rising final kilometre won’t deter the bunch sprinters.
Markel Irizar: "I know this area well and it can be windy around. This should be one of the easiest stages but it depends where the finish is exactly. Often races finish on a short, 800m hill in Viana. It could complicate things for the sprinters."