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#PelotonShorts: Valverde’s Chance

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Aug 22, 2016 – The 2016 Vuelta remains in the most western Spanish province, Galicia, but Tuesday’s stage 4 finish at San Andrés de Teixido is a first for the Vuelta. It’s a second summit finish in two days, but this one to the Mirador Vixio de Herbeira is very different from Monday’s finish on the short, explosive Mirador de Ézaro.

#PelotonShorts by John Wilcockson/Photo by Yuzuru Sunada

This Teixido climb—adjacent to the highest sea cliffs in Europe at over 2,000 feet (600 meters)—is 11.2 kilometers long averaging only 4.8 percent. It has a short downhill in the middle prior to the tougher final 4 kilometers that average 7.5 percent, steep enough to see another battle between the GC favorites.

This mountaintop finish is not dissimilar to another climb in northwest Spain, the Alto de El Morredero, which also has a downhill section before the last 4 kilometers at 7 percent. This image shows the peloton climbing El Morredero on stage 7 of the 2006 Vuelta. The winner that day 10 years ago was Alejandro Valverde, who finished four seconds ahead of fellow Spanish climber Carlos Sastre.

At age 36, Valverde is still a protagonist at the Vuelta, and the stage finish on the Mirador Vixio de Herbeira on Tuesday is one that could well see him beat Tour de France champion Chris Froome and the other contenders.

Follow @pelotonmagazine for more #pelotonshorts from John Wilcockson.
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