Stage 3: Lodosa - La Laguna Negra de Vinuesa
Stage 3: Lodosa to La Laguna Negra de Vinuesa
Date: October 22, 2020
Start time: 1:15 pm CEST
Stage finish: 5:15-5:45 pm
Stage type: Hilly
For a third consecutive day the stage is padded with a first-category hurdle in its finale, this one at La Laguna Negra, considerably higher than the previous two but arguably the easiest of the three finales. Similarly, it features around 2,600 metres of vertical gain, a meaty portion of climbing but not too exacting compared to what lies in store further into the 166.1km race.
The stage gets underway in Rioja wine country at Lodosa, looping to the north of the town at the beginning then turning due south. Rising steadily all the while, the riders will reach the first of the day’s two categorised climbs after 62 kilometres. Stretching to 17 kilometres, the Puerto de Oncala is long, but averages a mere 2.6 per cent. On the far side of the pass, the route descends eventually to Soria, which stands at just above 1,000 metres and is reputed for being one of the coldest places in Spain during winter months.
After bumping along for 50km on the Soria plateau, the riders will arrive at the intermediate sprint in Vinuesa. Ten kilometres beyond it, the climb begins to the summit finish at the La Laguna Negra (which is not to be confused with the not-too-distant Laguna Negra de Neila where José María Jiménez won a stage in the 1998 Vuelta).
The opening couple of kilometres on the 8.6km ascent are very straightforward. Steadily the angle of attack begins to steepen. After a handful of kilometres with the gradient hovering at 6-7 per cent, it kicks up again with the last few hundred metres touching 10 per cent.
Once again, the gaps between the GC hitters shouldn’t be very substantial at this comparatively easy summit finish. That being the case, the riders in the break of the day will be hopeful of their sortie going the whole distance.
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