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Lagos de Covadonga and Ancares likely to be among the high points
The 2014 edition of the Vuelta a España is shaping to be another climb-fest, according to reports in Spanish media. At least four high-summit tests are apparently being lined up for next year’s race, including Lagos de Covadonga, La Farrapona and the toughest side of the Ancares pass, which will come the day before the race finishes with a time trial in the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela.
Running between August 23 and September 14, the Vuelta will start in the province of Cádiz with a time trial at the sherry-making centre of Jerez de la Frontera. Recent Vuelta history suggests this is likely to be a team time trial, although that won’t be officially confirmed until the presentation of the race on January 11 in Cádiz.
Sports daily AS has reported that the Vuelta’s organisers are set to repeat the run of the three consecutive summit finishes leading into the second rest day that featured on this year’s race. The first of them, on September 6, is said to be La Camperona -a new climb for the Vuelta, that is known as “the Angliru of León”. It rises for 9.8km from the village of Sotillos de Sobera, with three of those kilometres pitched at between 17% and 22%, which some indicate could make a tougher test than the real Angliru.
The Vuelta will move into Asturias on the following two days for finishes at the race’s favourite summit, Lagos de Covadonga, and at Lagos de Somiedo via the Farrapona climb, which first featured in the 2011 race. Rein Taaramae won on that occasion.
Following the second rest day, the Vuelta will move west into Galicia, a region that has hosted the race a number of times in recent seasons. On the penultimate day, the riders will reportedly tackle the Pan do Zarco ascent of the stunning Ancares pass. Dubbed “the Spanish Mortirolo”, the climb averages 9.25% for 12km, including ramps of 20%.
As previously reported in Cyclingnews, the race will finish with a night-time time trial in Santiago de Compostela. This will be the first time since 1993 that the race has ended outside Madrid. On that occasion, it also concluded in Santiago.