Vuelta a España 2022 stage seven preview – a day of two halves

Stage seven could be a day for the sprinters who can survive the big climb midway through the race

Vuelta a España 2022, stage seven
Distance: 190km
Start location: Camargo
Finish location: Cistierna
Start time: 11.30 BST
Finish time (approx): 16.30 BST

A fourth consecutive day of climbing awaits the riders of the Vuelta a España with an interesting profile of two halves. Beginning in the province of Cantabria, kilometre zero is in the small but popular tourist town of Camargo, which plays hosts to a stage start for the first time.

Vuelta a España 2022 stage seven map and profile

From here, the race departs Cantabria and travels west, parallel to the coast, but inland, as it heads into beautiful Asturias, with its extensive national parks and hilly landscape. There is just over 70km of lumpy terrain to contend with, but nothing categorised – just your typical Vuelta day of non-stop ups and downs.

So it’s not the easiest approach by any means to the day’s one major climb, but it’s made worse by the fact that after travelling through the town of Panes, the route rises steadily uphill, and continues to do so for 55km before the climb even begins. It’s slow and steady but it will be tough on the legs with a seriously lengthy category one climb ahead.

The ascent in question is the Puerto de San Glorio. It’s far from the toughest mountain the riders will face during the three weeks, but it’s long, and will suit pure climbers much more than bigger, punchier riders. It totals 22.4km and averages out at a reasonably consistent 5.5%, although the first 6km are easier than the rest.

It will offer a chance for stage hunters to make an impression and break away from the bunch, while the GC contenders keep a close eye on one another.

The descent that follows is far briefer than the climb, as the peloton drops down onto the high plateau that is a feature of the local region. There are a few more hills to contend with but overall, the route is mainly downhill for the final 65km, which could lead to an exciting chase if a breakaway group have managed to carve out a decent lead over the bunch. There is an intermediate sprint, and bonification seconds, available in the town of Las Salas, as the race moves into its third province of the day, the autonomous region of Castile and León. From here the riders approach the finish line in Cistierna, a beautiful town that hosts a finish for the first time.

Vuelta a España 2022 stage seven predictions and contenders

It’s tricky to predict how this unique stage will unfold, but with a difficult weekend ahead, it’s possible the GC teams will allow the break to take their chances as they opt to conserve energy. Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorious) is a rider who might fancy another day in the breakaway, as is Lawson Craddock (EF Education-EasyPost) and Nikias Arndt of Team DSM. Daryl Impey (Israel Premier Tech) is a rider who has been in good form so far this race and he'll relish the finish of stage seven. Breakaway specialist Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) is another rider who could have a go today.

Then again, with a vast array of GC hopefuls at the race and plenty of young riders looking to make their presence felt, it’s the type of stage that’s extremely unpredictable, and anything could happen.

It could also be a day for the sprinters who can survive the Puerto de San Glorio climb such as Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo), Andrea Vendrame (AG2R Citroën Team), Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers), or Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ).

Prediction: We're backing Jake Stewart of Groupama-FDJ to take the win today. The young British rider had a strong showing in the break on stage six and was climbing well on stage seven. If he can make it to the finish in a reduced group, he could win a sprint to the line.

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