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September 6 post: After Monday's rest day, action resumes further up the Spanish coast in the Catalunya region of Spain.
Katusha's Joaquin Rodriguez was hoping to gain one second on race leader Igor Anton on stage 9 so that he could wear the race leader's jersey during the Vuelta's short visit to his home region. Rodriguez was born just north of Barcelona, the capital of Catalunya and, you may recall, he won the seven day Volta a Catalunya last March.
Stage 10 starts and finishes on the coastal region south of Barcelona. Starting from Tarragona, we'll head inland for some uncategorized hills during the halfway point of this 174 km stage. The peloton will then return further north up the coast at Stiges, another spot on this year's route known for much-frequented beaches, nightspots, and historical sites.
However, the stage doesn't finish in Stiges. There is a tough 40 km loop northeast of Stiges that includes a short but sweet category one climb, Alto del Rat Penat (profile) that will shake things up. Although only 4.4 km in length, it averages 10.8% and kicks up to 18% (or 23%, which I've read) and it's a private road. The stage then ends with a 30k rolling, narrow descent back to the coast for the flat finish in Vilanova i la Geltrú just southwest of Stiges. Look for a small bunch sprint finish.
There is a 20% chance of rain for Tuesday's stage after nothing but blue skies before the rest day.
September 7 mid-race update: Joaquím Rodríguez is the virtual leader in the race, as he came 3rd into an intermediate sprint, thus gaining 2s over Anton.
Stage 10 climbs
( 2010 Edition)