Vuelta a Espana 2014: six key stages to watch

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Racing

Vuelta a Espana 2014: six key stages to watch

Where this year's final Grand Tour could be won - or lost

After rolling out with a team time trial in Jerez, the first few stages should provide little concern to the GC men – with largely flat terrain and only a handful of categorised climbs to negotiate.

Any gains made – with the exception of the team time trial – are likely to be measurable in seconds rather than minutes.

Stage six of the Vuelta a Espana provides the first big summit finish of this year’s race (Pic: La Vuelta)

The first significant test, however, will be stage six – which finishes atop the Cumbres Verdes.

While far from the longest climb in the race, at 4.6km, an average gradient of 7.8 per cent is disguised by a false flat towards the end of the first kilometre, with much of the rest of the climb in excess of ten per cent.

The last time Froome, Contador, Quintana and Rodriguez rode together, at the Tour of Catalunya, the four were streets ahead of their rival when the road started heading skyward and stage six could provide the opportunity for each to send out a signal to their rivals.

Expect more accelerations in La Zubia.

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