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Vuelta Stage 2: Coasting to the Coast

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It's early, it's got a beach at the end, and believe it or not there could be a bunch finish.

David Ramos/Getty Images

Stage 1: Ourense Thermal Capital -- Baiona 160.8km

Quick one... it's the annual Vuelta a España spint stage!

What's It About?

The Vuelta disembarks from its grand depart in Ourense with an overall leader (Sky's Peter Kennaugh) and an itinerary. Time to loosen up the legs, take in some Galician coast, and give the fast men a chance.

ChrisF's Dirt and Rock Pairings

Where we never take things for granite.

This granite originated when, around 300 million years ago, Galicia was part of a mountain range formed by the collision of North America, Greenland, Europe and Africa. During that time, large magma chambers cooled down before rising to the surface and, upon solidification, these became large masses of granite. Also, the best-known rock in Galicia is, without a doubt, the gneiss "ollo de sapo" or "toad's eye", known by this name all over the world due to the enormous feldspar crystals it contains.

Oh, sure, blame North America, Greenland and Africa.

The second part of the stage takes place along the Vigo Estuary, in front of the Cies Islands, that form part of the Atlantic Islands National Park. The formation of Galician estuaries is a long and fascinating history. It begins 100 million years ago, when Europe and America began to separate, and goes all the way up to the end of the Pleistocene era, around 12,000 years ago, when the sea level rose due to the melting of glaciers in the last glacial period. That entire period saw the formation of the river valleys that are, today, inundated by the ocean.

Hey, Europe broke up with us. We were willing to stick it out.

Course Features

The Vuelta heads west to the sea, in a vaguely straight line. Hills are inevitable but kept to a minimum. Recall from the Viewers' Guide, last time they came to Baiona they ended on a climb, but this time it's a nice easy landing strip for the peloton.

Stage 2 Vuelta profile

The presence of a cat-3 climb should mean absolutely zero, except as far as the makeup of the day's breakaway is concerned. It tops out 90km from home, and in the pro peloton, nobody gets left behind on an early cat-3. Not for long anyway.

Whom Does It Favor?

Um, well... we tried to identify the sprinters yesterday. We really did. It's not a very large or intimidating group, so there's no excuse for missing out.

Pick to Win

Niccolo Bonifazio. He won a stage in Poland, so that's something?