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August 24 post: Stage 6 will head west from Úbeda to Córdoba on a lumpy course that has one cat 2 climb 20 km from the finish. Córdoba, the capital of the Córdoba province in the Andalucía region of southwest Spain, is often featured in the Vuelta a Espana. However, its last appearance in 2009 is not relevant for this year stage because it finished in the mountains above the city. The previous year, 2008, stage 3 finished in downtown Córdoba where Tom Boonen won a hotly contested field sprint. He's back this year and will be one of the favorites; however, now three years later, he's not the pure sprinter he used to be. Look for Daniele Bennati or Peter Sagan to win this stage. However, the climb and descent before the finish is tougher this year so a break may succeed.
Córdoba is one of the hottest cities in Europe, with summer temperatures often exceeding 42.5 C. It has been a hot race so far and the heat will be a big factor on this stage. — Steve