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Vuelta Stage 14 Preview: Granada - La Pandera

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Stage 14 :: Sunday September 13, 2009
157.0km :: Granada - La Pandera

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Gaily bedight a gallant knight, in sunshine and in shadow, had journeyed long, singing a song, in search of Gavia's stage preview...

The final stage of the mountains triple begins in Granada and finishes on the Alto Sierra de la Pandera. The stage includes three categorized climbs, and the profile is slightly easier than those of the preceding two stages. Still, it will be a difficult day of racing, since the riders will carry the hard climbing of the previous days in their legs. As is typical of the Vuelta, this stage is short and punchy. The course covers just 157 kilometers.

Granada sits inland from the coast at the base of the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Fed by snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada, the Beiro, Genil and Darro rivers all come together in Granada. On a hill southeast of the city sits its iconic monument, the Alhambra or Red Fortress. Built by the Moors in the 14th century, the Alhambra sits on a spacious plateau and within its walls stand a series of palaces intricately decorated in the Islamic style. An extensive park within the walls includes a grove of British elms brought to Granada by the Duke of Wellington in the early nineteenth century. Present day Granada houses one of the three largest universities in Spain and is famed for its nightlife. The city has hosted the Vuelta on 23 previous occasions and its proximity to the high mountains makes it a natural stop for the Spanish grand tour. Literally translated, Granada means pomegranate. Perhaps one of the Garmin-Slipstream riders can win the stage in tribute to their new sponsor, Poms.

The Alto Sierra de la Pandera joined the Vuelta family relatively recently. At 1870 meters, the Pandera is the highest peak in the Sierra Sur de Jeán mountain range which rises to the northwest of the more prominent Sierra Nevada. Three riders have celebrated victory at the summit of the Alto Sierra de la Pandera. Roberto Heras, Alejandro Valverde, and Andrey Kashechkin are the past stage victors. Perhaps Valverde would like to make it two on the Pandera.

Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 14 Preview at Steephill.tv

Clad yourselves in the robes of the Church of Frinkingology and let us read now from the book of Vuelta, verse Veertien...

And already the last moutanin and probably GC threat stage. Well not totally if they, Samsan, really want to attack they can. With Bobo in the Amarillo, here is hoping, it's going to be a hard mountain stage. Valverde has to attack to get rid of Evans, Gesink to get rid of everyone and the rest to come a little closer. So attacks everywhere? They better are, else we have to zap to the Giro 2009/9/8/6/5/4.

What's the stage like? We end with a shorter climb than yesterday, just??? 8.4km average 8% steepest part 13% but the first part of the climb has almost the same numbers. It's seperated because there is a plateau in the middle. It seems better suited for Alejandro V but you never know.. Up to you of there is a breakaway. My coin is of lately.

Ooh and we can bet? How many Spanish guys will there be tomorrow in the breakway?