Stage 19: Tapia - Monforte de Lemos
Date: September 3, 2021
Stage timing: 12:11 - 17:30 CEST
Stage type: Hilly
Vuelta a España stage 19 preview video
The Vuelta a España’s pre-penultimate stage has tended to favour breakaway riders in recent seasons, and this long run from Asturias into Galicia through the rugged Fonsagrada region looks likely to continue that trend. The sprint teams could control it, but after two very sapping days in the mountains they may not have the resources to do so. There may not be many sprinters left in the peloton to make it worth their while anyway.
After the start in Tapia, the first climb arrives quickly, the third-category Alto de Sela de Entorcisa, which links very quickly into the second-category Alto da Garganta. Both ascents are close to 10km, but the Garganta is markedly steeper, averaging 5.6 per cent.
After dropping into the valley, the riders will start climbing once again, the second-category Alto de Barbeitos their next hurdle. At 11.8km, it’s a little longer than the two previous ascents, averaging a touch below 4 per cent. Cresting it, the riders will have covered 60km and spent more than half of them climbing, and that should mean the breakaway group has already built up a considerable cushion.
Although there are no further categorised climbs, the undulating nature of the course continues for the next 40km to Castroverde. Beyond here, the terrain’s flatter and does offer the opportunity for the peloton to chase down the escapees, although the GC teams won’t be interested in helping out given the two days just completed and the final two that lie ahead.
There’s one last bump towards the finish, up to the town of Oural, where the intermediate sprint is located, followed by almost 30km of flat road into the finish at Monforte de Lemos.
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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