The 94.4 kilometre stage around the steep slopes of the Pyrenees in Andorra shapes as one of the key stages of the 2019 Vuelta a Espana.
Colombian Nairo Quintana is on his way to Arkea-Samsic next year, but is clearly keen to shake things up in his final Vuelta in Movistar colours. He was very aggressive on Stage 7, attacking multiple times before slotting back into the front group and working for team-mate Alejandro Valverde.
The short, sharp stage in the mountains suits Quintana perfectly, it being very similar to a stage of the Tour de France that he won in 2018.
The pint-sized rider is eyeing up Stage 9 as a site for a similar expression of his abilities.
“We have to take advantage of the mountains to gain time on Roglic, because he’s sure to do better than us on the time trial,” said Quintana. “So I hope I have a good day in Andorra.
“We’ll have to keep an eye on the weather. It could rain, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem. But it’s a very short, explosive stage, the kind where you can’t relax for a moment.”
Stage 8 turned out to be a bit of a nothing day for the peloton, with the major climb of the stage summiting with 26 kilometres remaining in the stage, with too much flat after the ascent for attackers to be chased back.
The main bunch ended up conceding over nine minutes to the breakaway with Nicholas Edet moving into the race lead.
“I got through today well without any problems, and tomorrow we’ll see what we can do,” said Quintana. “I’m feeling motivated to go all out. I’m feeling good.