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Vuelta a Espana 2017 stage preview: A decisive day against the clock on Stage 16

Joe Robinson
4 Sep 2017

Totalling 42km, Stage 16's time trial on Tuesday 5th September could still be a make or break point for some in the overall

As has been the case for many Grand Tours in recent years, the time trial has had almost as much sway as the big days in the mountains. 

The Vuelta a Espana route this year contains a 42km flat time trial from Circuito de Navarra to Logrono taking place on Stage 16 on Tuesday 5th September.

The route has been designed to favour the truest of testers against the clock. A technical start and finish bookend a long and direct course that veers slightly downhill after the 16km mark. 

Stage 16 will be the only chance for time trial specialists to fight out for stage success with the other test against the clock already behind them after the 13.8km team time trial took place on Stage 1 in Nimes, France and was won by BMC Racing.

A 42km time trial this deep into a race could cause the race for General Classification to explode, although Chris Froome (Team Sky) heads into the stage with a 1:01 lead over Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merdia).

The more versed time triallists amongst those fighting for overall success will be hoping to bank minutes against their opponents. 

Last year's Vuelta showcased a similar time trial, 5km shorter than this year. In 37km, Froome was able to put 2:16 into eventual winner Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and 3:13 into fellow podium finisher Esteban Chaves (Orica-Scott). 

For the less-able time trialists this could be an exercise in damage limitation. 

With this being a course for a true time trial specialist, a few names spring to mind for stage victory. The obvious choice for this stage would be Froome. The Team Sky man has made a habit of winning time trial stages at Grand Tours and victory here would be of no surprise. 

With an opportunity to put minutes into his rivals, Froome will be going full tilt from the start and on previous experiences, he has usually stood head and shoulders above his rivals in the discipline. 

Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) aims to make amends for a promising season that has been plagued by a crash at the Giro d'Italia. Dennis will most likely be Froome's biggest competition to the stage honours, and the Australian has already worn the leader's jersey after the team win on Stage 1.

The 27-year-old will be looking to uphold his unbeaten streak in time trials this season riding into Logrono. Starting with the Australian national title, Dennis has also won time trials at the Tour de Suisse and Tirreno-Adriatico in 2017.

One last rider who will be gunning for this stage will be Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors). Solid against the clock, he will certainly earmark this stage asa potential chance. 

Usually there or thereabouts in Grand Tour time trials, Jungels will view the lack of true specialists riding the Vuelta as beneficial. If he performs to his best, a podium on the stage should be a formality.

The only draw back for Jungels could be his ability to ride well for the overall title. The Vuelta route is difficult this year, and will probably see riders fatigued by Stage 16.

The time trial sits directly before Stage 17 to Los Machucos, which finishes with a 28% climb to the finish. Some riders may be minded to ride conservatively in the time trial to keep themselves in contention over the final week.

Whilst we appreciate that it takes a special person to settle down and enjoy afternoon on time trialling, we promise that this stage will have a dramatic effect on the overall result in Madrid.

Live coverage of stage will be shown on Eurosport on Tuesday 5th September with highlights shown on ITV4 later that evening.