Vuelta a Espana 2014: six key stages to watch

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Vuelta a Espana 2014: six key stages to watch

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

An testing stage, featuring five climbs in all, concludes the long weekend in the mountains – with the ascents of the Colladona, Cordal, Cobertoria and Puerto de San Lorenzo all coming before the summit finish at Lake Somiedo.

The first climb peaks after just 17.6 kilometres, with the final four packed into the last 100 kilometres of the 160.5-kilometre stage.

The third and final stage in the region concludes atop La Farrapona (Pic: La Vuelta)

All except the category-two Alto del Cordal are first category climbs, with average gradients above five per cent on each.

Expect plenty of attacking in what remains of the bunch, particularly as the likes of Rodriguez look to earn valuable seconds to counter his weaker time trialling.

The final ascent, which covers a distance of 16.5-kilometres in all, starts relatively modestly with some false flats and a short descent before kicking up more fiercely in the final four kilometres.

Quintana, Rodriguez and Froome have all, at various points this season, ground opponents down on similar ascents with their incessant attacking and are likely to bid to do so again this time out.

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