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A classic climbing stage
The climbs in the second half of this penultimate stage may not look that impressive, but that’s because the course is never far from the Atlantic coast of Galicia; so, though the highest point of the day is only 632 meters (just over 2,000 feet) above sea level, the five climbs all start near the ocean. The course has been compared to that of Liège–Bastogne–Liège, but the cumulative length of these five Spanish climbs is 37.5 kilometers, twice that of the final nine climbs in the Belgian classic. That means this stage is equivalent to a true mountain stage, not just a hilly classic. With the finish on a Cat. 2 climb that’s 10 kilometers long with frequent steep pitches out of sharp corners, only a strongman will win the stage; and it’s possible that if the podium contenders are separated by seconds rather than minutes, this ultimate climbing stage might have more impact than the final day’s time trial. Look to Cofidis’ Guillaume Martin or Qhubeka-NextHash’s Fabio Aru to battle for the stage win; the latter will be on the final climb of his professional career.