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Vuelta Stage 10 Preview: Alicante - Murcia

Stage 10 :: Tuesday September 8, 2009
171.2km :: Alicante - Murcia

The Vuelta turns to Northern California for tomorrow's stage. Don't believe me? It passes through Salinas, Los Banos, and Fortuna so technically, it's sort of a monster stage running from Monterey to Eureka. To up the giggle factor, the feed zone is in a town called, ehehehe... Los Pinos.

In truth, it's sort of a rolling stage, but the end should be pretty interesting with a climb up the incredibly Mexican sounding Alto de la Cresta del Gallo. ¡Órale!

Que onda, Gavia?

The Vuelta leaves the mountains for a day and returns to the flats for this sprinter-friendly stage between Alicante and Murcia. The Vuelta also abandons for a time it’s circuitous ways and this stage follows a relatively straightforward southwestern course between the two cities. The course heads inland from the coast and traces a sweeping arc through the rolling terrain around the Sierra de Crevillente. Though the profile is far from flat, this could still favor the sprinters as the final 80 kilometers race over flat or descending roads. A climb in the final 11 kilometers offers a chance for an attacking rider, but the course descends to a flat finish in plenty of time for the sprinters’ teams to take matters in hand. The stage finishes in Murcia on the Avenida Miguel Indurain.

Over 7000 years ago, the first hunting and gathering tribes moved into the area of Alicante and by 1000 BCE, the Phoenicians had begun to visit the Mediterranean coast of Spain bringing with them iron, the pottery wheel, and a written alphabet. Alicante received its name in 8 CE, when the Moors replaced the Romans as rulers of the Iberian Peninsula. Alicante is a transliteration of the Arabic for “city of lights.” Present day Alicante is a tourist magnet with lengthy stretches of white sand beaches and warm weather. The Castillo de Santa Bárbara sits high above the city on sandstone cliffs of the Monte Benacantil.

Murcia sits inland from the coast in the flood plain of the Segura river. Low mountain ranges surround the city and the Cordillera Sur divides Murcia from the Mediterranean coast. As it often the case with cities in the inland plains, extreme summer heat is common to Murcia. The flow of ancient rivers through Murcia left behind fertile soil and the city is surrounded by thriving agriculture. This year marks the 25th visit of the Vuelta to Murcia since Salvador Cardona won a stage there in 1935. The most recent stage finish in Murcia came in 2002, and Mario Cipollini celebrated victory.

Courtesy of Gavia's Stage 10 Preview at

Let's wander on down to Frinking's Corner and see what Frinking's frinking about.

What a briljant Dutch hegemony have we had! Gesink and Hoogerland in the picture and how! So we survived the first mountainstages. Result. Everybody is closer than ever! Today it's breakaway/rest/sprintday. I would say it's going to be a breakaway after such a stage but Boonen, Breschel and Freire are in good shape and could handle last stages with ease, or relative easy. After the breakaway is formed we can say if they are going to hold.

Someone want to tell me where the hell Frinking learned the word "hegemony"?  Is there a chance that even 1% of us will ever learn the Dutch word for "hegemony"?  Seriously, man, we kid you about the English, but we're all very proud :) (note the correct orientation)

Anyone else notice that all the satellite shots of Spain seem to look the same? Kind of greyish-brownish? I've never been there, is that a fair representation of the countryside? The satellite shots of France and Italy seem... dunno... more colorful.