Vuelta a Espana

After the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France, it is already time for the final grandtour of the season:  The Vuelta a España.  In the first part of this post, I will give you an overview of all the very important stages for the general classification riders.

The 72nd edition of the Vuelta a España will start in Nîmes with a team time trial of only 13.7 kilometres.  The route is a combination of flat section and sharp corners.  The terrain is completely flat except for a very small climb in the middle of the team time trial.  Furthermore, this race will take place in the evening and the teams will start between 17:30 and 18:54.On the second day, the riders will need to fight against the wind because they will ride all day long alongside the French coasts.  In my opinion, it will be a big disappointment if we don’t get a battle against the wind. The third stage will also be a spectacle because we could see a first battle between the general classification riders.  Riders who have lost some time in the previous stage, can already try to take something back if their legs are in good condition.Afterwards, we will have to wait until the eighth stage before we will see another battle between the riders, who want to win the final grandtour of the season.  The riders will ride over the “Alto Xorret de Cati” (category 1).  The ascent lasts five kilometres at an average gradient of 9%, with parts up to 18%.  As a consequence, riders who have the explosiveness to accelerate will have a huge advantage during this stage.  On the ninth day of this race, the riders will get a similar stage with a similar finish. They will climb the “Alto de Puig Llorença” (category 1).  The climb has a length of only four kilometres, but has an average gradient of 9.1% with parts up to 21%.  As a consequence, riders who are good at sprinting uphill will have a huge advantage over the others.  After this stage, the riders will finally get some rest before they will get the next six days of racing.The next real interesting stage will be the eleventh stage.  The riders will get another uphill finish, but this time it won’t be just a final of four or five kilometres.  Firstly, the peloton will have to survive the “Alto de Velefique” (category 1).  This climb has a length of 13.2 kilometres at an average gradient of 8.6%.  As a consequence, a lot of riders will lose contact with the peloton by the time they reach the top, which is 30.3 kilometres away from the finish.  Afterwards, the riders will go to the “Observatorio Astronomico de Calar” via an ascent of 15.5 kilometres at an average gradient of 5.9% with parts up to 15%.After this stage, the general classification riders will get some “rest” before they get the next obstacle on the fourteenth stage of the race.  The riders will go to the “Sierra de la Pandera” (category HC), an ascent of twelve kilometres at an average gradient of 7.3%, with parts up to 13%.  Riders, who like to climb at one pace, will have a problem because the gradients are almost constantly shifting.The fifteenth stage is another big day for the general classification riders because this stage is tough and short.  All the riders will have to make sure that they can follow until the first climb of the day.  Otherwise, they have a real problem to reach the finish within the time limit because the final is tough.  The first real obstacle is the “Alto de Hazallanas” (category 1).  This climb has a length of 16.3 kilometres at an average gradient of 5.5 %.  The top of this climb is 55.4 kilometres away from the finish.  After the descent of this climb, the riders will go to the “Alto del Purche” (category 1), which has a length of 8.5 kilometres at an average gradient of 8%.  The summit of this climb is only 19.9 kilometres away from the finish and the riders have only 600 metres to recover before they start at the final climb of the day.  The “Alto Hoya de la Mora” (category HC) has a length of 19.3 kilometres at an average gradient of 5.6% with parts up to 18.3%.After this mountain stage, the riders will get a second rest day before they have to motivate themselves for an individual time trial of 40.2 kilometres to Logroño.  The route is almost flat and straight and will be ideal for the specialists in this discipline.  Furthermore, the time differences between the general classification riders will be big.The general classification riders who lost some time in the time trial, will already have an opportunity to take some time back because the next stage is another uphill finish.  The final 28 kilometres of the stage will be a spectacle to watch because the riders will climb the “Puerto de Alisas” (category 1).  The ascent has a length of 10 kilometres at an average gradient of 6%.  The top of this climb is only 17.9 kilometres away from the finish.  After the descent of this climb, the remaining riders will go to the “Alto de los Machucos” (category HC).  This ascent has a length of only 7.2 kilometres but has an average gradient of 8.7%, with parts up to 26%.The next real battle between the general classification riders will be on the penultimate day of the race.  The stage has a length of only 117.5 kilometres with a tough final and finish.  The first real obstacle is the “Alto de la Cobertoria” (category 1).  This ascent has a length of 8.1 kilometres at an average gradient of 8.6%.  The top of this climb is only 38 kilometres away from the end of the stage.  Afterwards, they will take the technical descent of this climb before they will directly go to the next climb of the day.  The “Alto del Cordal” (category 1) has a length of 5.7 kilometres at an average gradient 8.6%.  The top is 21.1 kilometres away from the finishing line.  The descent of this climb will bring the riders to the final uphill finish of this race.  The “Alto de l’Angliru” (category HC) will last 12.4 kilometres at an average gradient of 9.8% with parts up to 18%.  There will be a big battle because this race could be decided by a number of seconds and riders.  Those who waisted too much energy before the climb, will pay the price on this climb.On the final day of the race, the riders who are still in the race will get a flat stage of 117.6 kilometres to Madrid, where this 72nd edition of this race will come to an end.  The sprinters, who have something left in their tank, will be able to give it all and fight for the final stage win of this race.

About the Author: My name is Nick and I am a 20-year-old student applied linguistics (Dutch, German and Russian) with a big passion for cycling. Consequently, I have a blog about cycling (cyclinghill.weebly.com), where you can read the previews of all the biggest races in the world of professional cycling. It is my dream to work in the world of cycling.

You can follow me on Twitter here.

All images are from the official site of the Vuelta a España http://www.lavuelta.com/