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The final hurdle
Whoever is wearing the leader’s red jersey on the start ramp to this relatively long time trial, he will have to be on his best form to clinch overall victory. In a similar TT, starting and finishing at the same points in the 1993 Vuelta, there was a bitter fight between the two Swiss stars Tony Rominger and Alex Zülle, who were both ace time trialists. Before the stage, Rominger was leading his compatriot by 77 seconds on overall time. Zülle won the TT by 48 seconds from Rominger—who thus took the second of his three Vuelta titles by just 29 seconds. Their closest challengers in the TT finished minutes behind.
This year’s final TT is a little shorter, but the right-angle-shaped course is likely to have crosswinds on the opening half that contains a long climb to the first split after 13 kilometers, while the second half should have a tailwind. If they both start the race and emerge healthy after three weeks of racing, this Vuelta could come down to Roglič vs. Bernal, also both ace time trialists, battling for victory. The finish is in the center of historic Santiago de Compostela, the end point of the centuries-old Camino de Santiago, which draws thousands of pilgrims every year to the cathedral that houses the tomb of James the Apostle.