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Vuelta a España 2020: Stage 11 preview

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Stage 11 profile 2020 Vuelta a Espana

Stage 11 profile (Image credit: Unipublic)
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Stage 11 map 2020 Vuelta a Espana

Stage 11 map (Image credit: Unipublic)

Stage 11: Villaviciosa to Alto de La Farrapona. Lagos de Somiedo

Date: October 31, 2020

Distance: 170km

Stage start: 12:24 pm CEST

Stage finish: 5-5:35 pm

Stage type: Mountain

The first of back-to-back stages with summit finishes includes five categorised climbs, each a little higher than the previous one, as it heads for the Alto de la Farrapona, which is featuring for the third time. In 2011, Rein Taaramae won the stage here and Bradley Wiggins kept his hold on the leader’s red jersey. Three years later, Alberto Contador cemented his grip on the lead with victory here.

Starting in Villaviciosa, the 170km stage, which features 4,700 metres of vertical gain, climbs from the off to the third-category Alto de la Campa. Weaving southwards into the heart of the Asturian mountains, the next obstacle is the first of four consecutive first-category ascents, the Alto de la Colladona, 7km long and averaging 6.5 per cent.

Coming away from this climb, the course turns westwards to the very challenging Alto de la Cobertoria, which saw a stage finish in 2017 when Tomasz Marczynski was the victor. Rising for almost 10km, it averages 9 per cent, but there are long ramps in its mid-section that are considerably steeper, with two separate kilometres at 12 per cent.

A descent that’s almost as steep follows as the route continues its westward course, soon reaching the foot of the penultimate climb, the Puerto de San Lorenzo. Like the Cobertoria, its average gradient, in this case 8.6 per cent, masks its difficulty. Extending 10 kilometres in length, there are four consecutive kilometres at 10 per cent to reach the penultimate ramp, which jags up even more abruptly and runs at 13 per cent, the wearing-down process now fully engaged.

There’s another steep and sometimes tricky descent into La Riera, where the riders will begin to climb one last time. The Farrapona is quite different to the previous hurdles. For a start, at 16.5km, it’s much longer. It’s also a climb of two halves, the first not too arduous and with several flat sections and even a short descent. Beyond this, it continues in the same vein for three more kilometres, when the complexion changes completely. The next four kilometres are each a little steeper than the last, culminating in two at 12 per cent that steeple almost all way up to the finish line.

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