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August 27 post: Stage 9 heads west into the Castilla y León region where the picturesque 2.1 Vuelta a Castilla y León stage race is held each Spring. This will be a fairly easy 183 km day until the day ends with 10 km 7.2% climb to the Sierra de Béjar. La Covatilla ski resort and it undulates. There is also 8 km of climbing at a lesser grade before the Covatilla climb officially starts. The renown heat and exposed nature of this climb (18 km in total) will make it even more difficult.

The Covatilla climb has been used previously in 2002, 2004 and 2006. In 2006, Danilo Di Luca won this climb and 2004 saw Roberto Heras finish 2nd on his way to winning the overall title. That year there were some serious time gaps, but the run up to the finishing climb is easier this year. By the way, Heras was born in Béjar which is at the very base of the Covatilla climb. — Steve