September 07, Stage 16: Luarca - Ermita del Alba 184 km

Today’s seven categorised climbs may not be as high as the half dozen tackled in Andorra but their severity, particularly the new finishing ascent of the Ermita de Alba, will make it just as tough.

Climbs such as the Cordal and Cobertoria are usually preludes to the Angliru. While it’s always slightly disappointing when the Vuelta skips that legendary test, the Ermita de Alba is a worthy alternative, for those watching at least. The first half of the 6.6km ascent averages 10 per cent. Above the hamlet of Salcedo, it ramps up to twice that before a series of precipitous hairpins and walls, including one at 30 per cent.

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