La Robla – Lagos de Covadonga
Highest point: 1,380m
Category: High mountains
The Vuelta’s favourite summit
It may not be as tough as the Angliru or several of the other epic ascents that the Vuelta organisers have located recently but Lagos de Covadonga is arguably the race’s classic climb. Appearing for the 18th time on the route, it has regularly provided the launchpad for a move towards overall victory. The parcours gets severe 50km from the finish, where the riders start up the short cat 1 Puerto del Fito. Covadonga starts off gently but ramps up viciously just before the 10km banner. The 6km up to the infamous La Huesera – "the boneyard" – are brutal. The whole race could very well be won or lost here.
Bingen Fernández: "Lagos! Over the years, this has always been an important climb when it comes to the GC. This stage will trim down those in contention even further. It’s the middle of three brutal stages and they seem to run three in a row quite regularly."