The Mirador: it was always going to be a big test with an average gradient of 20% and some of the hairpin turns even steeper than that. It had looked likely that the GC placings would be different at the end of the day. But before they got to this crazy climb the peloton had to endure 170km of pan flat roads across the Spanish countryside.
Someone tweeted last week that this Vuelta is a bit like putting a group of adolescent teenagers in charge of a Grand Tour. The result has been some dramatic stages with breakaway wins and the red jersey passed round a number of riders already. We’re loving it!
Quintana looked impressive on this short sharp ascent, his tiny body better suited to this kind of gradient than some of the larger riders. He made a break for it a couple of km from the finish and, for once, was able to sustain his attack. Contador, despite suffering injuries from the previous day, overtook Froome in the final metres and moves up to sixth place. Valverde was close behind the British rider. The stage itself was won by Katusha’s Sergei Lagutin.
Today sees another mountain stage with some small climbs but ones that could have a big impact on the overall standings again.