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.

September 7 post: We are up to Stage 18 with just four more stages in what's turning into a thrilling GC battle between Juan Jose Cobo (Geox-TMC) and Chris Froome (Sky).

This is the second stage in the beautiful Cantabria region of northern Spain, Juan Jose Cobo's home region if you didn't already know. The summit finishes are done but there is still lots of climbing in this race and the organizers are calling this stage a mountain stage. It features three category 3, one category 2 and one category 1 climbs in the middle of the stage before the flat finish in Noja. Noja is a tourist village on the Cantabria coast where 75% percent of its area is under environmental protection.

Chris Froome is only 13s down on Juan Jose Cobo after his stage 17 win in one of the closest GC battles in Vuelta a España history. He may not gain gap time at the finishes from here on in, but he'll be scratching and clawing for every bonus second along the way. Thus, Geox-TMC will be happy for a break to get away while Team Sky may try to keep the stage together at least until the intermediate sprints at km 101 and 135 are decided after descents. — Steve