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September 4 update: At 204 km, stage 18 is the longest stage of this year's Vuelta, an indication that the organizers have emphasized quality over quantity this year.

Starting from Aguilar del Campoo we'll head south to Valladolid, a historic city in north-central Spain, at the end of a flat stage as we make our way to Madrid. This the 35th time Valladolid has hosted a stage finish with the last winner being the late Wouter Weylandt back in 2008.

The peloton will do one 40 km finishing circuit before a flat finish suited to a mass sprint which we'll get if the winds are calm along the exposed roads of the Castilla y León region. The sprinters have had to wait nine days so they'll be eager for this finish. — Steve