Preview: Vuelta a Espana stages 8-14Fri 26 Aug 2016
A fantastic first week of racing for ORICA-BikeExchange at the 2016 Vuelta a Espana sees Esteban Chaves in fifth place on the general classification and stage six winner Simon Yates in tenth.
The second seven stages cover many mountain passes across the Basque Country and the Atlantic coast before turning North towards the infamous Pyrenees.
Saturday 27th August, Stage 8: Villaplando to La Camperona-Valle de Sabero, 181.5km.
A predominantly flat stage for at least 175kilometres before a brutally steep climb up to the summit finish. The Alto de la Camperona is 8.5kilometres in length with an average gradient of 7.4% and sections above 25%.
Sunday 28th August, Stage 9: Cistierna-Oviedo to Alto del Naranco, 164.5km
A lumpy undulating mountain stage with five categorised climbs including the tough summit finish up the Alto del Naranco. A tough day with a long and technical descent that runs for 40kilometres before the bulk of the serious ascending begins.
Monday 29th August, Stage 10: Lugones to Lagos de Covadonga, 188.7km.
A full-on mountain stage with the first category Alto del Mirador del Fito coming before the hors category summit finish on the infamous Mirador de la Reina/Lagos de Covadonga. Around 100kilometres of fast rolling roads lead onto the lower slopes of the day's two major climbs. Should be an important day for the overall contenders.
Tuesday 30th August, Rest Day: Oviedo.
Wednesday 31st August, Stage 11: Colunga-Jurassic Museum to Pena Cabarga, 168.6km.
Stage 11 sees the fourth consecutive summit finish at high altitude with 150kilometres of rolling roads before the finale up the category one Pena Cabarga climb. A stage for the ambitious breakaway move will depend on how the battle for the general classification is looking after a few days in the mountains.
Thursday 1st September, Stage 12: Los Corrales de Buelna to Bilbao, 193.2km.
Four categorised climbs compliment this long stage through the legendary Basque Country region of Northern Spain. Two ascents up the Alto El Vivero before a fast technical descent to the finish in downtown Bilbao make for an exciting finale.
Friday 2nd September, Stage 13: Bilbao to Urdax-Dantxarinea, 213.4km.
The longest stage of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana includes four third-category climbs before a lumpy and technical finale in the region of Navarra. A tough stage that on paper could be ideal for the opportunist as the race heads towards the Pyrenees.
Saturday 3rd September, Stage 14: Urdax-Dantxarinea to Aubisque-Gourette, 196.1km.
A truly epic stage that traverses the French Pyrenees with three first-category climbs and concluding with the summit finish on the iconic hors category Col d’Aubisque. One of the most demanding stages in the history of the Vuelta it will certainly play a huge part in the overall standings. The Aubisque is 17kilometres long with a relentless average gradient over 7% and is well known for its challenging terrain.