Vuelta a Espana 2022 – Stage 9

A classic Vuelta a Espana finish, one steep ramp to find the winner of the day.

They start in Villaviciosa and head east towards Neuva. That is the flat start. Then head back west before going south for the last two climbs.

The Route

They start heading east as mentioned. A few hills in the first 45 km but nothing major before the first categorized climb (Alto del Torno, 8.3 km at 5.7%). I would say it is the latest point the breakaway will form.

Back west again, three categorized climbs – none of them particularly difficult I would say. It leads us directly to the last climb. Mind you, the stage has 3700 climbing meters – most of them seems to be well hidden, meaning the stage is a lot harder than it looks.

A tough, tough finish. The first 2.3 km average 15.3%. It does get easier in the last 1.3 km, but it still goes up. It is a climb where you should do your own pace. The tarmac isn’t very great either making it even worse.


The wind will blow from the east, which means a headwind for the first 50 km or so, but they will have either tailwind or crosswind on their way to the finish. It is not very windy, so it will not affect the race a whole lot. It will be up to 30 degrees. Near the end, there is a small chance of thunder.

How will the stage unfold?

It is quite clear Quick-Step do want to keep the jersey, but that does not equal a stage win. The flat start does make it more difficult for a strong climber to get in the breakaway and you must be a fantastic climber to get into the morning break. If it forms on the first climb, after 43 km in, the breakaway has a chance.

Does anyone want to help Quick-Step tomorrow? I highly doubt it. It depends on how well Roglic is feeling as he is not 100%. It could potentially be a climb that suits him well. INEOS has been sitting back and tomorrow’s stage is not about numbers – it is about who is having the best legs.

I do think it will end in a GC battle, as it will be very difficult for a strong climber to get in the breakaway.


Evenepoel – he simply is the strongest of the GC riders. He did well on steep inclines in San Sebastian, but it did course him issues in Valencia many months back. He is looking composed and will be the big favorite for tomorrow.

Roglic – he looked better but he is still missing a few percent. Tomorrow would have been the day I thought he would gain a lot against his rivals. I think he will be one of the best.

Mas – he keeps surprising me, in a good way. He will likely not win as I don’t see him dropping Evenepoel with an attack or in the finale sprint.

Simon Yates – won here back in 2018. He does very well on these gradients and he can beat almost everyone when he has a good day. I think he will be a contender for the podium.

Lopez – 2nd here in 2018 behind Yates. He is another rider who fancy the inclines but his form seems a bit off.

Rodriguez – best if the INEOS men today and I think he is likely to be the same tomorrow. In Burgos, he did well on the steep inclines if Lagunas de Neila but tomorrow is even steeper. Anyhow, I have high expectations for him tomorrow.

Tao G Hart – he does not strike me as rider who goes well when it becomes very steep but he will likely give it a go anyway.

Almeida – he won on the steep Lagunas de Neila in Vuelta a Burgos but he seems to have off days every once in a while. I think he can surprise a few tomorrow, he will do his own tempo, something I find clever tomorrow.

Carthy – he should ring a bell when we have these gradients. He is a breakaway option and a late attack option.

Vine – breakaway option. He can do about anything at this moment.


⭐⭐⭐⭐ Evenepoel

⭐⭐⭐ Roglic, Mas

⭐⭐ Yates, Lopez, Almeida

⭐ Vine, Carthy, Tao G, Rodriguez

Who will win?

I think it is about time Evenepoel finally takes a stage win.

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