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Vuelta a España 2020: Stage 7 preview

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Stage 7 profile 2020 Vuelta a Espana

Stage 7 profile (Image credit: Unipublic)
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Stage 7 map 2020 Vuelta a Espana

Stage 7 map (Image credit: Unipublic)

Stage 7: Vitoria-Gasteiz to Villanueva de Valdegovia

Date: October 27, 2020

Distance: 159.7km

Start time: 1:22 pm CEST

Finish time: 5-5:30 pm

Stage type: Hilly

After a rest day in the Basque Country’s administrative centre of Vitoria-Gasteiz, the riders face another hilly test over 159.7 kilometres that includes two passages over the first-category Alto de Orduña before finishing in Villanueva de Valdegovia.

The route starts to the north, running across the high plateau on which Vitoria sits to reach Landa, and there turning west to bump along for 40km or so before a drop to Orduña. Turning south here, the route arrows across a plain towards the magnificent cliff faces of the Sierra Salbada, the road beginning to weave as it approaches what appears to be an impregnable rock wall.

The climb is 7.8km long and averages 7.7 per cent, with many pitches at 11, 12 and even 13 per cent on occasions. As it winds up through 15 hairpins, the slope gradually gets more abrupt until a final ramp that rears up to 14 per cent and leads into a final kilometre to the summit that’s not even one-third as steep.

Now in the province of Burgos, the route continues southwards, then turns east again, bumping its way back into the Basque Country, before turning north towards Izarra, where the intermediate sprint is located. Just beyond, the riders will return to the road that drops into Orduña for a second crack at the spectacular pass above the town.

With a big GC day to follow, this stage should favour the breakaway group, with the Burgos-BH team sure to be looking for an opportunity to shine on home ground. The GC contenders should be able to cope quite comfortably with the Orduña, but anyone suffering an off day who does get dropped will find it extremely difficult to recoup lost ground on the fast run-in to the finish.

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