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Vuelta stage 20. Corvera → Alto de El Angliru - 119km

"Oh, baby don't you cry
For stars shine the brightest just before they die"

This is the last stand. The last chance for Grand Tour glory this year. The last mountain stage of a legend. At 119km, expect a stage low in duration and high in intensity


After a rolling start, the first of the Asturian classics looms. La Cobertoria, often seen, rarely decisive because of its placing in the stage, will be there once more to tire the draining legs of the riders.


A likely rainy descent follows, perhaps being the only part of the race left to truly attack the race leader and turn the Vuelta on its head.

The descent of La Cobertoria is followed by the traditional predecessor of what is to come


Another tricky descent that once saw race leader Egoi Martinez crash out, we get the final climb of this Vuelta, and it's the hardest one. The Beast of Asturias, it is the Alto de El Angliru. Famed. Mystical. Notorious. With 12.5km at 10.1% and all the steepest parts in the latter half it is the toughest possible end to a Grand Tour. A few of the contenders tomorrow have won or lost the Vuelta before on the famed ascent. Nothing is certain yet.

Lastly, this is the Great One's last ascent. May he rise to the final occasion.

Alberto Contador to win this bike race.



You might as well leave it as is. Just the profile. And the title, Stage 20. All that needs to be said, really.

But this is it, nothing to lose bar for missing the time cut, and the indignity of having to walk your bike during a professional bike race.

The break won't make it, methinks, and that's all the speculation I"ll allow myself. Will the Dawg break away from the sled? Will Lopez suffer from burnout as the sun's rays no longer reach him? Will the Crane of Tatarstan lift off from the Bay of Biscay? Or will it be a shark that emerges form that abyss? Or, and this is the big or, can Contador put one last cartridge into his trusty if rusty barrel and go out in one final blaze of glory? Or will it all end in a pop?

We shall soon find out.
I hope it doesn't happen but I have a feeling that one of the top guys will fall foul to the weather tomorrow, by going all out taking too many risks, scuppering their chances of a win/high GC placing. It's gonna be carnage but I think that Froome may just hold onto the jersey by the skin of his ball sack as the others know his weakness in crap weather and will attack very early (downhill on cobertoria). Breakaway rider to win the stage, not a clue who though.

If the break is caught and Froome and Contador manage to get away together towards the finish, I do think that Froome will gift the stage to Contador.
Only wish they'd descend Cobertoria via Cordal and do a little loop-de-loop with Cuchu Puercu. That might even tempt somebody like López to go on the penultimate climb. Of course, probably not, after all the final climb is Angliru, but if there ever was a way to make it not a one-climb stage, that would be it.

Still no Spanish stage winners in this race. Unless the break takes it and somebody like Rosón or Moreno is there and on a good day I don't see that changing unless Contador finally succeeds, either. Even if Froome does get distanced, he'll keep it to 45" or so like on Los Machucos and win the Vuelta, finally ending his fixation with righting that perceived wrong from six years ago.

dacooley said:
somehow im fancying a massive letdown something like the 2014 zoncolan with the break taking it.
Zonc was a disappointment because making up 3' on Nairo would've been pretty tough, and nobody could be bothered to try and change anything in the GC. Here, however, everything is really tight, and making up 1'37" on Froome is definitely possible for Nibali.

Libertine Seguros said:
Even if Froome does get distanced, he'll keep it to 45" or so like on Los Machucos and win the Vuelta
Los Machucos was, however, just a 27 minute ascent (well, longer for Froome) whereas Angliru will be about 45 minutes, and the gruelling part comes at the end. Plus there's a much harder set of climbs before.