• Overall leader Chris Froome (left) had a tough day at the office on stage 12 of the Spanish Vuelta. (AAP)Source: AAP
Two tough summit finishes face the peloton today and tomorrow at this year's Vuelta. What will Chris Froome do?
By
Cycling Central

Source:
Team Sky
2 Sep 2017 - 10:01 AM  UPDATED 2 Sep 2017 - 11:31 AM

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The man himself says he has nothing to fear but admits the altitude alone on Sunday will be tough. 

“I don’t think I fear either of the stages," Froome said. "On the climbs it certainly feels like we’re a lot more in control of the race. There are only a handful of guys who can really put us under pressure.

"So for us that’s what we train for and that’s what we’re looking forward to. We have two seriously really hard back to back days coming up.

"I think with Sierra Nevada with the altitude, being over two and a half thousand metres, that’s going to be massive on Sunday.”

When Froome says "we're a lot more in control" he means - more than last year. Because, with just 129 kilometres before the summit on Sunday in Sierra Nevada at 2,490 metres above sea level, pundits can't fail to cast their minds back to last year's stage 15.

That's when Chris Froome lost the 2016 Vuelta after Nairo Quintana skulked off with Alberto Contador on the 118 kilometre stage to Formigal - or as some joke 'Froomigal' - earning the Colombian enough time to take the 2016 title a week later.  

Froome is unlikely to make the same mistake twice this second last weekend of the Vuelta. Especially with the form he's in, assured by his emphatic stage nine victory atop the Puig Llorenca climb. Potential heat, two weeks in the saddle and a fall on stage 12 will barely chink the Team Sky armour.

At least, that's how the script goes. Until, it doesn't. 

What the riders face at the Vuelta this weekend:

Stage 14:

 

The La Pandera as a summit finish is relatively new in terms of Grand Tour years. First travailed in 2002 and won by Roberto Heras, it's appeared at the finish just three more times (2003 - Valverde, 2006 - Andrey Kashechkin, and 2009 - Damiano Cunego). 

Stage 15 - What is Spanish for 'ouch':

The climbing is brutal. Again. 

Climb 1: Alto de Hazallanas - 16.3km long, 5.5% 

Climb 2: Alto del Purche - 8.5km long, 8%
 
Climb 3: Sierra Nevada. Alto Hoya de la Mora - 19.3km long, 5.6%