I would, at least before today's stage, have laid good odds on little occurring before they pass Cobertoria, similar to when they first introduced Bola del Mundo and all the action came after Navacerrada, or Cuitu Negru atop Pajáres. Even if Cobertoria east is already a very tough climb, it's on wide, well paved roads that the péloton will have done before (albeit not that often as it's the side frequently descended).
However, typical expectations would have had today as being a shootout on Los Lagos because of the fear of Gamoniteiru tomorrow, and that obviously did not happen. Collada Llomena is not that much tougher than Mirador del Fito, but it's new, and it offers opportunities. Holy 2011 Tour, Batman, a race is breaking out!
I have to say that when I looked at the stage profile, I was reminded of the 2010 Cotobello stage due to the two steep climbs mid stage then the lengthy false flat down and up before the final climb, however that was at the end of the mountain trifecta and not at as difficult or iconic a climb as this so I didn't expect as much. But that stage gave us the Euskaltel Team Time Trial as they dragged Nieve to the front to salvage the race now that Igor Antón had crashed out. This was like that stage, only if Fuji had still been there, and had gone on that move that Nieve did. With Nieve as his helper. OK, so it wasn't the team masterstroke of, say, Heras on Pajáres, but I did think of the 2011 Tour here, as after two weeks of grumbling, we suddenly get an epic, Primož Roglič gets a proper signature ride, Bernal wins the hearts and minds battle, and Movistar show that they can put what their men in the cars learnt from their trip to the Volta a Portugal into action.
And they're now going to have to get just as creative if they want to win this race. I have been saying, semi-seriously, all along that Movistar are in the perfect position for them, holding 2nd and 3rd, but realistically... they might just be settling for that, although if they were simply stunned into submission by Jumbo allowing Roglič to actually try to maximise gains rather than try to win by as little as possible. Their only hope now is for Roglič to collapse Yates '18 style, it would seem.