Vuelta a España Vuelta a España 2021: Stage 14 (Don Benito - Pico Villuercas, 165.7 km)

A very weird set of stages gives way to the only MTF of this second week.





The first part of the stage is very easy, although the fight for the breakaway should cause another fast opening hour. The first climb of the day, Puerto Berzocana, comes about halfway into the stage.



This climb backs nicely into the biggest garage ramp of the race, Collado de Ballesteros. With the way this second week has been, GC action cannot be automatically ruled out. It's the first 3 kilometres of the profile below.



The descent into Guadalupe, which is reused for the final climb, doesn't look overly difficult. The ensuing lap is narrow and ends with a steep descent. The final climb starts with a detour through the centre of the town (2.8 kilometres at 4.4%), then rejoins the main road 2 kilometres into the profile below.

 
I have ambivalent feelings regarding the stage. Ballesteros is a leg breakaer but it's almost 70 km from the finish (no attacks by top3 guys expected but maybe, just maybe Ineos will try something there). The final climb is long but IMO it's too shallow (by at least 1%) for large gaps.
 
Attacks on Ballesteros could certainly be possible in the sense of "let's just smash the peloton to bits and see what happens"

I don't think gaps will be huge on the top though and the peloton should condense together quite quickly after that.
 
I can't really see a scenario where Kuss and Kruijswijk will have to work early after the various issues for the 3 other major teams.

I guess there may be some kind of KOM battle, but that's about it in terms of action before the last climb.
 
Interestingly enough, no crazy steep pinches in the Ballesteros.

If a really dangerous break goes up the road I'm sure Jumbo can keep the peloton close enough for it to not matter or send their own domestiques along. Anyone has to make an effort on that climb anyway

Now for the final climb, it's just too perfect for a 200m Roglstomp at the end. Too easy all around, final few hundred >10%.

I can see the peloton slowing down tremendously after Ballesteros and the break winning. Real opportunistic things to be left for tomorrow maybe?
 
the stage will be decided by what Movistar wants to do. If they donot chase then breakaway will win. maybe MOVI of MAL attacking MAS on MTF
Maybe, but Jumbo showed on Wednesday they're also capable of controlling a stage for the stage win.

And tomorrow really does look like prime Roglstomp turf. If he's physically up for it (i.e. hoping the crashes haven't knocked anything out of him), he could be tempted to go for the stage.
 
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Maybe, but Jumbo showed on Wednesday they're also capable of controlling a stage for the stage win.

And tomorrow really does look like prime Roglstomp turf. If he's physically up for it (i.e. hoping the crashes haven't knocked anything out of him), he could be tempted to go for the stage.
I mostly don't think the risk/reward ratio for tomorrow is that great. You have to fry Kuss also on the final climb, you might run into a counter, etc etc. Valdepenas you can practically empty a magazine into Rogla and he'll still take time on that.

It's also down to which break goes. Valdepenas they had a lot of help from TBE and they wouldn't have pulled it back if it had been a 15 man break.

The highest priority for Jumbo will be to stop crazy attacks and keep it together until the final climb, not necessarily the breakaway not winning.
 
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To the OP: Thanks for doing up another stage thread, but I'm interested to hear more on your thoughts on a "weird set of stages".

I think it's a well designed second week. Three stages with category 2 climbs towards the end (creating all sorts of outcome possibilities), and with a mixture of downhill and uphill finishers, followed by a flat stage, and now two semi proper mountain stages, held on the weekend no less.

Apart from maybe an ITT, I don't see what is missing here?
 

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