The Vuelta a España does what the Tour de France refuses -- offer fans a mountainous romp in the first week of the race. The Lagos de Covadonga has been used 15 times in the history of the Vuelta and its appearance in stage four will likely see the Maillot Oro changes hands with a battle up its 12.6-kilometres road. The riders will face an average gradient of 7.3% with a section of over 13% for half a kilometre.
Marino Lejarreta first won here in 1983 and he was followed over the years by a list of greats; Dietzen, Delgado (2 times), Robert Millar, Lucho Herrera (2 times), Pino, Oliveiro Rincón, Jalabert (2 times), Tonkov, Zintchenko and Eladio Jiménez have all topped this peak in Asturia first.
Asturian rider, Samuel Sánchez of Euskaltel-Euskadi, commented on the stage. "I tried to find a good competitive level facing the Vuelta, where it will be advisable to begin as strong as possible because we will have to confront the first high mountains in the fourth stage, which will finished on the top of the Lagos de Covadonga," he noted to Cyclingnews.
"It is a very demanding climb that favours the specialists. They must take advantage, thinking [that later there will be] the long time trial between Cariñena and Zaragoza."