Many of the riders will be familiar with today’s roads from the Tour of Murcia, although the mid-summer temperatures are likely to be very different to those experienced when that race took place in March. The route is straightforward until the first passage through the finish line. From there, the riders will head up into the Espuña range for the cat 3 Alto de la Santa. It’s little more than 10km from its summit back to the finish. While this may give the sprinters time to take control, this final descent will most likely open the stage up to late attackers.
Vuelta flashback 1966, Gabica leads Kas sweep of the Vuelta podium
Today’s start and finish towns are new to the race but nearby Murcia is familiar to the Vuelta. The city hosted the start of the 1966 race, which almost didn’t go ahead because of financial problems at the organising El Correo Español newspaper. Although the Spanish government stepped in, it did so too late to guarantee a strong foreign presence. Spaniards dominated, with Kas sweeping the podium thanks to Francisco Gabica, Eusebio Vélez and Carlos Echevarría. Incidentally, today’s final climb, the Alto de la Santa, featured in the 2003 Tour of Murcia won by Victor Hugo Peña.
Highest point: 690m
David López says...
"The riders will know from the Tour of Murcia that these roads tend to be wide and exposed. The mountains here are not the biggest or the hardest but they do get a lot of wind. That final climb will complicate things for some riders, though."