What to expectStage 1 (Sat 19/8) Nimes TTT.
Distance is not yet known, but rumours are between 20 and 30 km, closer to 30 km.Stage 2 (Sun 20/8) Nimes - Gruissan.
Flat and windy for the sprinters. Just checked the dominant winds around Narbonne here
and it looks like the stage final section has been designed for a headwind / tailwind.Stage 3 (Mon 21/8) Prades - Andorra.
The map does not show the rumoured Rabassa loop. A stage without Rabassa would be just 150 km and would barely have 15 km of the race in Andorra. Let's wait and see.Stage 4 (Tue 22/8) Escaldes - Tarragona.
Another one for the sprinters.Stage 5 (Wed 23/8) Benicassim - Ermita Sta Lucia (Alcossebre) (MTF).
First uphill finish. They'll ride the roads in the interior of Castellón. Expect a couple of cat 2 climbs and the kind narrow twisty roads perfect for a breakaway we saw last year on the way to Mas de la Costa.Stage 6 (Thu 24/8) Vila-real - Sagunt.
The map shows incursions in the Sierra de l'Espadà and Sierra Calderona, so this will be another one on rolling and twisty roads perfect for those training for the Worlds. This includes the possibility to have the selective Alto del Garbí somewhere beteen 15 and 20 km from the finish. But with four main different roads to the summit (I found three profiles here
) and this being Unipublic I fear for the worst way up and a loop to show the arrival town on TV and get the climb as far from the finish line as possible.Stage 7 (Fri 25/8) Lliria - Cuenca.
A long one on rolling terrain with the spicy finish already seen in 2006: a climb on cobbled streets and a fast descent.Stage 8 (Sat 26/8) Hellín - Xorret de Catí. (MTF)
Nothing serious before the final climb. 200 riders going full speed against a 4km wall.Stage 9 (Sun 27/8) Orihuela - Cumbre del Sol. (MTF)
We've already seen this before. The double climb with a shorter loop than in 2015 would be the icing on the cake, but we know Guillén doesn't like icing on his cake.Rest day (Mon 28/8)Stage 10 (Tue 29/8) Caravaca de la Cruz - Alhama de Murcia.
The map shows a couple of loops around the finish town, one of them including Collado Bermejo. Let's wait to see if they choose the most direct (and technical) descent from the summit to the finish line.Stage 11 (Wed 30/8) Lorca - Calar Alto.
(MTF) Based on the map they'll climb Velefique South and I guess they do a short descent to Bácares and up to Calar Alto with no flat in between. Profile hereStage 12 (Thu 31/8) Motril - Antequera.
Looks like they will climb el León and Torcal de Antequera before a 15km descent to the finish. Not bad if it is true, but I wouldn't be surprised if they skip Torcal.Stage 13 (Fri 1/9) Coín - Tomares.
This one has a trick. Tomares is next to Sevilla at the side of River Guadalquivir... but on a plateau 40m above the river. You know what I mean.Stage 14 (Sat 2/9) Écija - La Pandera. (MTF)
This one is intriguing. The map shows a loop before la Pandera, so I guess they won't go straigth up from Valdepeñas. I have no idea if they have found a hidden nasty ramp in that loop or we will see the same as in previous visits just preceded by the 4km @ 7% climb from Valdepeñas to the beginning of that loop.Stage 15 (Sun 3/9) Alcalá la Real - Sierra Nevada. (MTF)
An extension of the 2013 stage that Horner won with the finish around 900m higher at Hoya de la Mora (2500m). It's not clear if the extension will go through the main road or through the more difficult slopes of Collado de las Sabinas they used in 2009. There's a direct road from Sabinas to Hoya de la Mora skipping the sky station but I doubt they do it if the ski station pays the stage finish. If they go through Sabinas they can do a short descent from Sabinas to the station before the last 400m of climbing.Rest day (Mon 4/9)Stage 16 (Tue 5/9) Los Arcos - Logroño (ITT).
The only ITT. Around 40kms, no significant ups and downs but some twisty roads between straight sections.Stage 17 (Wed 6/9) Villadiego - Los Machucos (MTF).
The stage departure location has conditioned the route of this one. More than 100kms of flat, easy climb followed by the long descend of Lunada, 30kms of flat and then Alisas (cat 2) and los Machucos with barely 3 kms of flat in between.Stage 18 (Thu 7/9) Suances - Sto Toribio (HTF).
A shortened version of Fuente Dé with a murito instead of a long gradual climb. Do expect epic long range attacks here.Stage 19 (Fri 8/9) Parque de Redes (Campo de Caso) - Gijón.
Another one for those preparing the Worlds. It looks they do Colladona N
followed by Colladiella from Figaredo
. Then they may add some less significant cat 2 and 3 climbs on the way to the finish. There are nasty climbs near Gijón, but I doubt they'll use them.Stage 20 (Sat 9/9) Corvera - Angliru (MTF).
From the looks of the map it will have Cobertoria W and Cordal, but the finish does not call for long range attacks.Stage 21 (Sun 10/9) Arroyomolinos - Madrid.
Sprint preceded by lots of complaints about the evacuation of Angliru.
The reduction of MTFs with respect to previous years is a plus. With the possible exception of Calar Alto, all MTFs are clearly on the hardest climb of the day. And the only stage likely to include three cat 1 climbs ends in the steepest climb of the race. So there is no improvement in that department. At least we've been spared of the three-MTFs-in-a-row where one or two of them are ridden in gruppetto up to the red flag. I'll cross my fingers to see how many of those stages with a potential downhill finish depart from the best possible route and by how much.
On average it may be slightly better than recent Vueltas, but I doubt this is enough to be better than the Giro or the Tour.