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September 7 update: Just like 2010, the finale of the Vuelta a Espana ends on the steep slopes of La Bola del Mundo (profile) where Ezequiele Mosquera was the first winner and Vincenzo Nibali emerged as the overall leader.

This year's stage 20 starts in Segovia and crosses four major climbs northwest of Madrid before the summit finish on the Bola del Mundo (11.4 km @ 8.6 %, max 23 %).

The last three km of the Bola del Mundo ("Ball of the World") average 12.5% on a narrow concrete road that kicks up to 23% that isn't open to the general public. Expect Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) to make a winning move on this section, but he likely has too time to make up on GC to also pull off the overall win. Of course, race leader Alberto Contador is also good on these sort of finishes and he's almost 2½ minutes up on Rodriguez. — Steve

Bola del Mundo recon from 2010 (01:16 spanish) —
20 Big Photos from Bola del Mundo Summit Finish in 2010sirotti + reuters
Showdown on the Bola del Mundocyclingnews