Vuelta a España: Stage 19

Distance: 177.5km
Category: Medium mountains
Highest point: 605m

Only three days to go now but two of them feature summit finishes. The first is the celebrated Alto del Naranco above Oviedo. It is dubbed the 'Cima Tarangu' in memory of Asturian climbing legend José Manuel Fuente, who sealed his second Vuelta victory on the climb in 1974, the first occasion the race tackled it. A regular fixture up to the 1990s, the Naranco has not featured on the route since 1997, when Vicente García Acosta was the first to the top. Averaging 5.8 per cent and just 6.8km in length, the climb up to the statue of Christ is not overly taxing but the huge crowd on its slopes will provide a superb atmosphere, especially if Oviedo's own Samuel Sánchez is on song.

Abraham Olano: "The Vuelta used to visit the Naranco often but it hasn't for a long time. The climb isn't that hard but you have to remember that there are time bonuses available at all of the Vuelta finishes and these seconds can be vital. That can make climbs like these more intriguing."  

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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).

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