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September 16 post: Toledo, the stage 19 finish, is another town along this year's special Vuelta route which has hosted the Vuelta many times in the past.

In 2009, Toledo hosted the stage 20 individual time-trial and two years ago Toledo hosted the stage 6 finish. This finish is similar to 2008 except the peloton will approach Toledo from the north instead of from Ciudad Real in the south.

After descending the central plateau to the plains, the peloton will continue a lumpy route south, past Madrid to the east and on to Toledo where they'll do one lap of the city just like 2008. In the final kilometer, there is a 6% hill for 500m before a 500m flat finish.

This stage is well suited to a puncheur like Philippe Gilbert, the stage 3 winner this year. Gilbert will know this finish well since he placed second behind world champ Paolo Bettini in 2008 (results and report).

There are three big differences between this stage and the Toledo stage in 2008. This stage is over 80 km longer than 2008, making it the longest of this year's race and it takes place near the end of three weeks of racing. Also, there is a cat 2 climb just 6 km from the start in Piedrahita where a break will get away. So if Philippe Gilbert wants to win in Toledo this year, he might have to get in the main break. After his good third place on Stage 18, look for Footon-Servetto's Manuel Cordoso on this stage as well.

In Spain, it rains mainly in the plains... 30% chance of rain for stage 19. — Steve

Stage 19 climbs
Km 6 - Puerto de la Chia - 8 km at 5,5% - Category 2

(Y! 2010 Edition)