This stage preview is available in the following languages:

(We are looking for translations in ALL other languages. Please submit your translation with the stage no. and language in the subject title. If you don't see your preview posted within 12 hours then please resend your preview as an attachment if you didn't already do so because we've had problems with some inline character sets like German.)

Also follow steephill on Twitter for the latest race info and video updates.

August 27 post: Stage 8 is the second mountain stage of this year's race featuring a cat 1, two cat 2 and three cat 3 climbs before a very steep uphill finish in San Lorenzo de El Escorial. The 177 km stage heads north from yesterday's finish in Talavera de la Reina into the mountains west of Madrid which includes the category one Puerto de Mijares (photos) that gains 1000m in 18 km (5.5% average). Carlos Sastre will know these climbs well since he lives in the area.

The peloton will do one lap of San Lorenzo de El Escorial before the cat 3 finish which averages almost 20% in the final km and kicks up to 28%. This finish is expected to be even harder than the stage 5 uphill finish in Valdepeñas de Jaén won by Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha). If Joaquin Rodriguez didn't hurt himself too badly in yesterday's crash at the finish then he'll be the favorite, but since San Lorenzo de El Escorial is hosting a Vuelta stage for the first time there could be a surprise. — Steve