Vuelta a España Vuelta a España 2021: Stage 3 (Santo Domingo de Silos - Picón Blanco, 202.8 km)

The second-longest stage of this year's edition forces the GC riders to show their hand early as they tackle one of the harder MTFs of the race in Picón Blanco. It's just 13 days since a sizeable chunk of the peloton climbed it at Burgos - if Flemish hills didn't exist, that might have been some sort of record.

The route




The stage start is one town over from the previous one, in Santo Domingo de Silos. The opening quarter of the stage is more than a little hilly, taking in the first categorised climb of the day at Puerto del Manquillo. 'Fun' fact: this stage features the only KOM points on offer between Saturday's time-trial and the finish of stage 6.



After that, everyone can safely fall asleep for at least 100 kilometres provided the wind doesn't spring a surprise. There's an intermediate sprint just past three-quarters of the way in, which could get interesting with the current three-way tie in the points classification. This is followed by the penultimate climb of the day in Alto de Bocos, with bonus seconds on offer at the summit.



A short section of rolling terrain then takes us to the foot of the MTF. The stage winner will most probably take the KOM jersey for at least four days, no doubt a lot of small teams will be hoping the peloton doesn't feel like chasing. More importantly, it's time to draw the battle lines for the GC. Roglic has something of a disadvantage in being the only main contender who hasn't raced this climb before, but it obviously shouldn't be unfavourable terrain for him.

 
I forgot to complain about how much better a downhill finish would be
The whole stage is practically downhill for 110km until the final 50km & its difficulties.

It'll be a mountain sprint where the form of each & every favorite will be clear in this early Vuelta. No hiding, or playing tactics. We'll also see who has the strongest climbing team.

But I don't expect large gaps.
 
The whole stage is practically downhill for 110km until the final 50km & its difficulties.

It'll be a mountain sprint where the form of each & every favorite will be clear in this early Vuelta. No hiding, or playing tactics. We'll also see who has the strongest climbing team.

But I don't expect large gaps.
I honestly think it's too hard to have your Etna-esque first GT MTF. Also it's the hardest MTF in the first 17 stages.

That said, my weather site has a block headwind at the start of the climb, so I dunno.
 
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I've low expectations for this stage . I'm expecting Jumbo to be looking for a group of 5-8 to be allowed up the road at which point they'll do no chasing so the can pass the jersey on. Winner comes from break, GC action on the last climb will be limited to a 1-2k burn up where Roglic puts about 10 seconds into everyone else and someone random cracks and ships a few minutes but everyone else is still there.
 
Reactions: Sandisfan
I've low expectations for this stage . I'm expecting Jumbo to be looking for a group of 5-8 to be allowed up the road at which point they'll do no chasing so the can pass the jersey on. Winner comes from break, GC action on the last climb will be limited to a 1-2k burn up where Roglic puts about 10 seconds into everyone else and someone random cracks and ships a few minutes but everyone else is still there.
Picón Blanco is very similar to Moncalvillo in length and pitch. Roglic put more than half a minute to some GC contenders in Moncalvillo last year.
 
I've low expectations for this stage . I'm expecting Jumbo to be looking for a group of 5-8 to be allowed up the road at which point they'll do no chasing so the can pass the jersey on. Winner comes from break, GC action on the last climb will be limited to a 1-2k burn up where Roglic puts about 10 seconds into everyone else and someone random cracks and ships a few minutes but everyone else is still there.
who will be allowed in the break honestly that is no gc threat but is a good enough climber? I don't even see the peloton letting guys like Grossschartner Martin, Bouchard Mader or Poels go to be honest. This will probably be a GC final, where ROglic is the big favourite.
 
Picón Blanco is very similar to Moncalvillo in length and pitch. Roglic put more than half a minute to some GC contenders in Moncalvillo last year.
Moncalvillo came at the end of a hard first week though, this is coming at stage 3 so unless someone has come in undercooked, I'm not expecting much. Teams and contenders are still too fresh here. I expect Ineos or Bahrain to take it up on the climb and ride at a strong enough lace to not drop loads but hard enough that Roglic will wait to do his 1k smash. Hopefully I'm wrong though
 
Moncalvillo came at the end of a hard first week though, this is coming at stage 3 so unless someone has come in undercooked, I'm not expecting much. Teams and contenders are still too fresh here. I expect Ineos or Bahrain to take it up on the climb and ride at a strong enough lace to not drop loads but hard enough that Roglic will wait to do his 1k smash. Hopefully I'm wrong though
Moncalvilo was pretty uncontrolled but real attacks only started flying with like 2km to go which isn't much different from what I'd expect tomorrow.

The real difference is that the field is much deeper so even with the same aggression gaps between the top 10 should be smaller.
 
who will be allowed in the break honestly that is no gc threat but is a good enough climber? I don't even see the peloton letting guys like Grossschartner Martin, Bouchard Mader or Poels go to be honest. This will probably be a GC final, where ROglic is the big favourite.
I'm not sure who lost time today cos of crashing bar the Bora guys but guys who lost a bunch of time already who can climb (and it's not that the stage is a multi climb so the only tough part is the last 8k) well enough to hold on at the end are likes of Vanhoucke and Dombrowski in particular but then also Holmes, Simmons, Storer, Madrazo. They're all 3+ mins down at the moment so if the peloton let them take 8 minutes to the foot of the final climb, they'd still probably finish 5 mins ahead.
 
I honestly think it's too hard to have your Etna-esque first GT MTF. Also it's the hardest MTF in the first 17 stages.

That said, my weather site has a block headwind at the start of the climb, so I dunno.
It's the big test. The one stage I pencilled in weeks ago as the moment of truth for Roglic.

He hasn't raced such a hard climb & been competitive since Itzulia Basque Country. That's a long time. Since the crash it's all been sh*t as soon as the road goes up (except for the Japan Olympics TT & its climb). On the plus side he seems 'super happy' & he's also 'super active' on instagram since the beginning of this Vuelta (way more than usual). I can only imagine it's because he feels good.

I mention Roglic here because his behavior will dictate how the climb unfolds (i.e. attempt to merely hold on whilst other teams control the climb or race aggressively with a high tempo set by JV teammates & probably go for the win).
 
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It's the big test. The one stage I pencilled in weeks ago as the moment of truth for Roglic.

He hasn't raced such a hard climb & been competitive since Itzulia Basque Country. That's a long time. Since the crash it's all been sh*t as soon as the road goes up (except for the Japan Olympics TT & its climb). On the plus side he seems 'super happy' & he's also 'super active' on instagram since the beginning of this Vuelta (way more than usual). I can only imagine it's because he feels good.

I mention Roglic here because his behavior will dictate how the climb unfolds (i.e. attempt to merely hold on whilst other teams control the climb or race aggressively with a high tempo set by JV teammates & probably go for the win).
I don't really think there's much of a rational reason to doubt Roglic on this climb.

I really think that Olympic Gold was a weight off his shoulders. He grew up doing a different sport where Olympic Gold was the highest honor. I'm sure it means a lot to him.
 
The whole stage is practically downhill for 110km until the final 50km & its difficulties.

It'll be a mountain sprint where the form of each & every favorite will be clear in this early Vuelta. No hiding, or playing tactics. We'll also see who has the strongest climbing team.

But I don't expect large gaps.
Could be, but this is much more than the typical early-in-the-Vuelta murito, which are indeed mountain sprints. This is more of a serious climb in length and steepness, and there are teams that are not going to sit back and let it be an easy pace till the end. Of course it could still end up being a Roglic mountain sprint, since he always seems to have one for the final 500 meters.
 

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