Stage 15: Mos - Puebla de Sanabria
Stage 15: Mos to Puebla de Sanabria
Date: November 5, 2020
Stage start: 10:51 am CEST
Stage finish: 4:55-5:40 pm
Stage type: Hilly
This was one of two stages that were pieced together in June when the Vuelta organisers opted not to take the race into Portugal as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Still starting in Mos, the hometown of 2006 Tour de France champion and Vuelta ambassador Oscar Pereiro, it now bumps west through the rugged terrain just on the Spanish side of the border to finish in Puebla de Sanabria, rather than in Porto as was originally planned.
At 230.8km, this is an extremely long stage for the modern-day Vuelta, which tends to favour shorter courses designed to encourage aggressive racing. Yet, this could very well turn out to be a very interesting day in the battle for the leader’s red jersey, as the almost-constant undulations combine to serve up 4,090 metres of vertical gain.
The initial 50km are flat as the race heads away from the Atlantic coast. The relentless rollercoaster then begins with the first of five third-category climbs, the Alto de San Amaro. The lumpiness continues with the Alto de Carcedo and the Alto de Furriolo, the hardest of this trio with 5km at 7 per cent.
There’s a lull beyond the Furriolo, from which the road only drops a short way before levelling out on a plateau that extends for the next 30 kilometres. This ends at the halfway point, where the rolling hills become significantly bigger than they were earlier in the stage.
The first of them is the Alto de Fumaces, which is close to 11km long. The course steps up even further, reaching the intermediate sprint at A Gudiña and then an uncategorised climb past O Pereiro. The final test is the Alto de Padornelo, from which 18 mainly downhill kilometres remain into the finish at Puebla de Sanabria, where Jonas van Genechten was the winner on the only previous visit in 2016.
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