Vuelta a Espana stage 14: Live updates, blog
Please join us for live blogging of stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana. Live coverage will begin at 9.20pm AEST with comments added to this post as the race progresses.
There were no changes in the top ten overall following last night’s stage 13 of the Vuelta. Tonight, that is set to change, with the first of three consecutive days in the high mountains.
All eyes will be on the four-way battle between Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank), Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Chris Froome (Sky Pro Cycling).
The stage 14 map features no less than five categorised climbs, including a category one summit finish up Puerto de Ancares.
With four climbs already in the legs, the 9.5km ascent to the line is sure to sort the men from the boys.
To compound the burn, Puerto de Ancares comes on the back of the 9.7km Alto Folgueiras de Aigas to make it a twin first category finale.
Only 13 seconds separate red jersey holder Rodriguez and second-placed Contador. Even the smallest slip up could cause a shake up at the top of the general classification.
Rodriguez showed his climbing prowess at the extremely steep conclusion to stage 12, when he cracked Contador and gained handy time.
Tonight’s summit finish may be nowhere near as steep, but it is far longer. This could work to the advantage of Contador, who relishes genuine mountain stages.
The peloton will likely be whittled down to just a handful of men.
Contenders further down the list who feel they have the legs, riders like Robert Gesink (Rabobank) and Nicolas Roche (Ag2r La Mondiale), may look to attack.
Roche is sick of being the guy that is “there and thereabouts”. He wants a podium finish. With the Irishman moving to the Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank squad next season, Vuelta 2012 could be his last chance for a while to ride for himself in a Grand Tour.
Live blogging starts at 9.20pm, with all you need to know about what is sure to be a frenetic day of racing.