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The Daily Race: Vuelta a España Stage 18

Vuelta a España Podium Cafe

Stage 18: Valladolid — Salamanca

What is it? Flat stage with sprint written all over it.
Got Climbs? Nope.
Red Jersey Battle: Off for today.
Ideal Rider: Mark Cavendish. Because he just keeps winning.
@Gavia: Getting close now, almost to the final mountain stage.

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The Vuelta flirts with Madrid with this stage running from Vallodolid and Salamanca. The course runs just north of the capital city and the race finish. Trivia alert! Vallodolid hosted a finish during the first edition of the Vuelta in 1935. The route is impressive in its flatness and no categorized climbs interrupt the tranquility of the day's ride. A doomed breakaway is certain, and the sprinters' teams should have no difficulty keeping things well in hand. Big legs on the front eat up flat kilometers like Gav eats cupcakes. It should be a fast finish in Salamanca, despite the absence of Oscar Freire and Thor Hushovd, who have left the race to prepare for the World Championships. Eat your heart out Salamanca.

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