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Vuelta a España 2020: Stage 5 preview

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Stage 5 profile 2020 Vuelta a Espana

Stage 5 profile (Image credit: Unipublic)
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Stage 5 map 2020 Vuelta a Espana

Stage 5 map (Image credit: Unipublic)

Stage 5: Huesca to Sabiñánigo

Date: October 24, 2020

Distance: 184.4km

Start time: 12:54 pm CEST

Finish time: 5:15-5:45 pm

Stage type: Hilly

This is the toughest stage of the race so far in terms of vertical gain, clocking up a touch over 3,000 metres of climbing across 184.4km on a long loop between Huesca and Sabiñánigo and runs in the shadow of some of the highest peaks in the Pyrenean range.

It starts from Huesca by bumping eastwards to reach Barbastro. Beyond this town, the route starts to veer to the north, passing through El Grado and running up the western side of the immense Grado reservoir. The road is straight and wide in this valley as it heads for Aínsa and then Escalona. Here, though, the route’s topography changes considerably.

Starting a long swoop westwards to the finish, the road begins to climb, but unfortunately not on the twisting road through the spectacular Añisclo canyon, which is one of the most dramatic anywhere in the Pyrenees. Instead, the riders head to the 13.5km second-category ascent of the Alto de Vio. After a quick drop away from that, they’ll be climbing again to the third category Alto de Fanlo, from which there’s a longer descent to the intermediate sprint at Fiscal.

The stage’s final climb also begins in this little town. The Alto de Petralba will be familiar to some as the final climb of the Treparriscos sportive that is the shorter option to the Quebrantahuesos, Spain’s most renowned sportive. A steady 5 per cent or so on a beautifully surfaced road, the Petralba is unlikely to cause any problems for the GC riders. It will, though, offer a useful launch pad for the better climbers in the breakaway group, who will be confident of staying clear today with the first major rendezvous on the Col du Tourmalet arriving 24 hours later.

Cresting the Petralba, the next 15km are downhill towards Sabiñánigo, the road rising, but quite steadily, for the final two kilometres up to the line.

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