Stage 18: Solares - Noja
Big chance for a breakaway
If any one stage of this year’s Vuelta is almost guaranteed to offer a winning chance to a breakaway this is the one. The stage takes the most roundabout of routes, snaking for over 174km to cover the mere 30km between Solares and Noja, which both lie just to the east of Santander. There are five categorised climbs, the last two cat 3s that are still some distance out from the finish. If, or perhaps when, the breakaway goes, the bunch may decide to chase over the closing 30km into Noja but the likelihood is that it will be too far back to bother.
Vuelta flashback 1935, A landmark that stands out from the inaugural Vuelta
The Puerto de Alisas is one of the few landmarks on this year’s race that can trace its Vuelta history right back to the race’s very first edition in 1935. It featured on stage 3, which was billed as the race’s toughest as it took in several other climbs in the rugged sierra that form the backdrop to the port of Santander. The stage was won by Gustaaf Deloor, leader of a strong Belgian team, although it was Swiss rider Leo Amberg who led the race up and over the northern side of the Alisas. Deloor took the leader’s jersey that day in Bilbao and kept it all the way into Madrid.
Highest point: 725m
Johnny Weltz says...
"The profile suggests this is not too tough a climb compared to the days around it but I think it could be difficult to control. It’s very rolling, the roads tend to be on the heavy side and the weather can be poor with the Atlantic so close."
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