Stage 6 :: Wednesday September 3, 2009
176.8km :: Xàtiva - Xàtiva
I believe it was Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II who once said to Maestro Salieri, "You are Xàtiva, court composer!" How much Xàtiva can a guy get? Well, this stage will answer that question... as will tomorrow's stage, since we actually come BACK to Xàtiva. Again. Consider this the theme of the '09 Vuelta. Repetition. Loops, whorls, returns, doublebacks, whatever you wanna call it, there was no stretch of pavement that Victor Cordero didn't want to roll over twice.
This stage is nicht flachmatuch. It has several rated climbs, and it's curvy as hell. I also noticed from the satellite photos, that they roll through some pretty bizarre terraced looking hills. I imagine there's a reason for the terracing besides "We decided to turn all of eastern Spain into a rock quarry". Join me on the flip for the usual repartie...
Gavia has taken up rock climbing. I know this because she climbed over the Writer's Block to bring us this stage preview...
The Vuelta heads inland for this stage which starts and finishes in Xàtiva. The course traces a U-shape and passes over hilly terrain. The stage climbs three category 3 climbs and ends with a 34 kilometer circuit around Xàtiva. The climbs should be sufficient to rule out the sprinters and open the way for a breakaway to survive to the finish. The final category 3 climb summits 25 kilometers from the finish, and two short steep climbs interrupt the tranquility inside the final ten kilometers. This stage finish favors the attacking riders and we should see a small group or solo rider fight it out at the line.
Xàtiva sits just south of Valencia and slightly inland from the Mediterranean coast. In Roman times, the city warranted a mention by Ovid because of its fame in producing silk fabrics. During the 12th century, Xàtiva became a center for paper production in Europe when Northern Africans brought the Middle Eastern technology — and their armies — to the Iberian Peninsula. The modern city with its tree-lined streets sits on the right bank of the Albaida river and south of Monte Benisà. The Castillo de Xàtiva sits atop the Monte Benisà and stands guard over the city. The stage both begins and ends in this southern city.
Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 6 Preview at Steephill.tv
Frinking has gone radio silent suddenly; I haven't heard from him in three days. Most likely, he's still hunting down the whereabouts of Enecobecco.
In this sequence, you can see the Alto de Milares, which sits on top of a plateau above those strange terraces I mentioned before.