Stage 10: Tarragona — Vilanova i la Geltrú
What is it? A good day for a breakaway.
Got Climbs? Just one. It's only 4 kilometers, but the average gradient is 10%. Maximum? 18%.
Red Jersey Battle: Not likely, the final climb summits with 30 kilometers to race.
Ideal Rider: With that nasty climbing thing near the finish, this stage looks like a good day for the break to go all the way. You'll want your breakaway specialists for this one, guys like Marco Marzano, Dario Cataldo, Greg Van Avermaet, and Samuel Dumoulin.
@Gavia: Why do the sprinters even show up for the Vuelta? Maybe it's the food.
The Vuelta organizers have dubbed this stage a flat stage, despite the steep climb at 30 kilometers to go. I suppose it's all relative, but the profile shows a rather bumpy ride from Tarragona to Vilanova i la Geltrú. From Tarragona, the course follows the coast, which means refreshingly flat roads, but soon the Vuelta turns inland. In Spain, turning inland nearly always means climbing. Though the route slip lists only one categorized climb, the terrain is bumpy and it's an up and down ride as the stage traces out an arc through the towns of Vals, Pontons, and Vilafranca del Penedés. At Sant Pere de Ribes not far from the coast, the course adds an extra loop to climb the Alto de Rat Penat.
The only categorized climb of the day, the Alto de Rat Penat summits with 30 kilometers to race. It's short at only 4 kilometers, but also quite steep with an average gradient of 10% and a short section pitching up to 18%. Steep-o-rama. Though not the kind of climb that will keep the Red Jersey contenders awake at night, it almost certainly rules out a sprint finish in Vilanova i la Geltrú. The breakaway should go all the way on this one, and the final climb will likely help decide who contests the stage victory. It's mostly downhill from the final climb, and a small group should survive to contest the finish.
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Post-Race Happy Hour
Erviti won today's stage solo, after the Caisse d'Epargne rider attacked the break. Despite some chase action from Fofonov of Astana, among others, Erviti held on for a solo win. Zingle won the sprint for second ahead of Greg Van Avermaet. Thanks to some handy riding in the intermediate sprints, Joaquím Rodríguez is the new race leader ahead of Igor Anton. Cavendish continues as Points Leader, Moncoutié (Bubbles!) leads the mountains.