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Vuelta a España 2021: Stage 3 preview

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Profile stage 3 of 2021 Vuelta a España

Profile stage 3 of 2021 Vuelta a España (Image credit: Unipublic)
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Stage 3 map 2021 Vuelta a España

Stage 3 map for 2021 Vuelta a España (Image credit: Unipublic)

Stage 3: Santo Domingo de Silos to Picón Blanco

Date: August 16, 2021 

Distance: 203km 

Stage timing: 12:18 - 17:30 CEST

Stage type: Mountain

Vuelta a España stage 3 preview video

Like the previous stage of the Vuelta, this one starts to the south of Burgos in the shadow of a magnificent monastery, this one Benedictine and dedicated to the 11th century saint, Domingo de Silos. There’s a cultural monument of a very different sort just outside this Castilian village, the Sad Hill Cemetery that featured in the final scenes of the iconic spaghetti western, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, which was directed by Sergio Leone and starred Clint Eastwood.

For the sprinters who are likely to have been in the forefront of the action on the previous stage, the back end of this long 203km run from south to north through the province of Burgos will definitely have an ugly look, finishing as it does with the steep climb of the Picón Blanco, a regular feature on the Vuelta a Burgos route.

There are two climbing tests before the final ascent, both rated as third category. The first, the Puerto del Manquillo, arrives early on, with little more than 30km covered. From that high point of 1,405 metres, the riders will gradually descend, bar the odd lump or two, towards the intermediate sprint at Medina de Pomar. Not far beyond it, they’ll start up the Alto de Bocos, which marks the beginning of the tricky finale.

There’s a short, uncategorised climb after the Bocos, which leads into Espinosa de los Monteros and quickly to the foot of the final ascent. Rising for 7.6km at 9.3 per cent, the gradient is in double figures for the most part, reaching a maximum of 17 per cent just before the halfway point. The final two kilometres are a touch below the average, and should enable the in-form climbers to extend the advantage they’ve gained on the steep ramps lower down.

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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