Testing times in the mountains
This is the second of three consecutive (and increasingly tough) mountain stages and this one also ends on a summit finish new to the Vuelta. A break is sure to go with 100km to the summit of the first pass, the Ventana, but once beyond that their lead will be cut back rapidly, given the difficulty of the terrain. The final 5km of the San Lorenzo pass averages a leg-breaking 11 per cent. From there, it’s on to the final ascent of the Farrapona. This climb gets tougher the higher up it goes, which should guarantee an epic battle between the contenders for the leader’s red jersey.
Vuelta flashback 2010, Rodríguez edges Nibali out of the red jersey
Vuelta organisers Unipublic have a host of epic climbs to choose from as they race through Asturias. The cat 1 Alto de San Lorenzo is becoming a regular pick after first appearing in 2006, when David Arroyo led the race over, and returning last year when Luis León Sánchez was first. That day’s stage finished in victory for Mikel Nieve on the Alto de Cotobello, where Joaquim Rodríguez gained key seconds and the leader’s red jersey from Vincenzo Nibali, only to crumble completely in the time trial two days later, when the Italian regained the lead that he kept to the finish.
Highest point: 1,715m
Javier Guillén says...
"I think the Asturias should always feature in the Vuelta as we need mythical climbs but we also need to innovate, hence the introduction of the Farrapona. It’s a beautiful climb, with tough sections throughout. It will be spectacular."