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September 2 update: Stage 16 is the third of three consecutive mountain stages and the most difficult featuring two cat 1 climbs before a hors categorie summit finish. It's being called the Queen Stage: the most important mountain stage of this year's race.

Starting near the Cantabric Sea, Stage 16 will head south from Gijón to Valgrande-Pajares and another epic summit finish this time on Cuitunigru (profile) after 184 km of racing in the Asturias. The final climb is almost 20 km in length averages 6.9% and hits a maximum grade of 22-25% (near the finish) according to different sources.

Alberto Contador said after Stage 15 that he was tired and not sharp due to his 6 month suspension and Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) said Contador almost cracked him. In other words, we should be in for another good mountain stage battle on Sunday between the GC favorites before Tuesday's rest day. — Steve

Rodríguez says he was close to cracking on Lagos de Covadongacyclingnews
Alberto Contador: “Suspension may have cost me the chance of Vuelta victory”velonation