Monday's Stage 3 to present first significant difficulties at 2010 Vuelta
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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Monday's Stage 3 to present first significant difficulties at 2010 Vuelta

by Jered Gruber at 4:47 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Category 1 ascent late in the stage along with a tough Cauberg-esque climb in Malaga to ensure thrilling finale

Tomorrow's 157 kilometer stage from Marbella to Malaga along the Mediterranean Coast could see the general classification hopes to the fore and the attackers with a great chance at victory.

Riders will be confronted with an immediate 9 km ascent out of Marbella to the category two Puerto de Ojen. 90 kilometers later, they'll get their first taste of big climbing with the 16 kilometer, 860 meter vertical ascent of the Puerto del Leon. The summit of the climb that averages a little over 5% will come with 37 kilometers remaining. The lumpy final run-in will be capped off with a climb to the finish in Malaga at the imposing structure of the Castillo de Gibralfaro, which overlooks the city founded by the Phoenicians in 770 BC.

Rabobank team director, Adri van Houwelingen likens the final climb to Amstel Gold's centerpiece climb, the Cauberg.

"After a first category climb in the final thirty kilometers, the riders will be confronted with a hill like the Cauberg in the final kilometer and a half.

While the mere mention of the Cauberg and knowledge of the fact that Belgium's prodigal son, Philippe Gilbert, is on the hunt for stage glory, seems to scream Amstel Gold re-run, Van Houwelingen, of course, expects his star sprinter to play a role tomorrow in Malaga.

"The best climbers amongst the sprinters will have their chance. If Oscar can survive the first category climb, I expect that he will be involved."

None of the teams are overlooking the ardors to be confronted in tomorrow's finale. Saxo Bank director sportif, Bradley McGee, considers tomorrow one to respect.

"We're really going to pay attention to tomorrow's stage, which serves a long climb after 120 kilometers and a tricky uphill finish."

Kasper Klostergaard, a late addition to the Saxo Bank roster following the silly administrative mistake in regards to Michael Morkov, will be looking to help his teammate's over the day's big climb.

"Tomorrow, we need to make sure that Fränk, Andy, Anders and Gustav make it over the big climb in the first group. The heat may cause problems for a lot of riders tomorrow."

The attacking riders are surely licking their chops tonight between sips from cold bottles of water. The likes of Philippe Gilbert and Filippo Pozzato have to see this as one of their top chances at stage glory in this year's Vuelta. It will be interesting to see if there's any sort of separation in the final 1.5 km, which climbs just over 100 meters, or if any of the favorites fall victim to the heat on the day's category one climb.


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