A 181.5km jaunt separates Villalpamdo from La Camperona Valle de Sabero, a pancake flat day which builds towards the intensely gruelling summit finish of Alto de la Camperona, Valle de Sabero. The final rise to the line features a deceptively manageable gradient of 7.4%, when the reality of the day’s final run to the line is an ascent which tackles slopes in excess of 20%. Today’s winner will need to be extremely strong to match the pace of Stage 8, though the gradients ahead of the finale should prove inviting for those who have a taste for tougher work. It would come as no surprise to see one of the top riders win here, though it will be tough to pinpoint who exactly that is.
Chris Froome never seems to hesitate when it comes down to acquiring handfuls of time before the first week is over. The Team Sky captain will be hoping to steal a time advantage of sorts before the mountains truly kick off and is likely to prove confrontational on Stage 8.
Esteban Chaves is another specialist upon this type of extremely testing terrain and shall be eager to strut his stuff en route to another grand tour stage victory. The diminutive rider could catch many of his rivals napping if he chooses to attack today and there is no reason to think that Chaves could not win here.
Nairo Quintana shall be next in line to challenge the status of the big names here and will be looking to cause a stir as he strikes out for stage glory and the leader’s jersey.
There is a great chance for the breakaway to make it right the way to the line, with following riders in with a chance of winning here; Pierre Rolland, Kristijan Durasek and Andrey Zeits.
1st Chris Froome 2nd Esteban Chaves 3rd Nairo Quintana