Stage 6: Requena - Alto de Cullera
Stage 6: Requena - Alto de la Montaña de Cullera
Date: August 19, 2021
Stage timing: 13:55 - 17:30 CEST
Stage type: Mountain
Vuelta a España stage 6 preview video
The Vuelta a España reaches the Mediterranean Sea at the resort of Cullera, just south of Valencia, where the finish line is perched adjacent to the castle that overlooks the town and the sea at the top of a short but acutely-steep third-category climb.
The stage starts at Requena, towards the edge of Spain’s high central plateau, dropping steadily from there. It’s ideal breakaway country, especially as the final climb is too hard for most of the sprinters to have a chance of success and not hard enough to split the GC contenders by more than a few seconds. At Picassent, approaching the halfway point, the race reaches the coastal plain and doesn’t rise again from it until the finale.
From Picassent, the riders will continue into the city of Valencia and then to the intermediate sprint at Pinedo. Beyond it, they’ll stay on a southerly course past the resort town of El Saler and the Albufera, a huge inland lagoon that’s a haven for birdlife. The first passage through Cullera comes with 30km remaining. The riders will loop back through the town again before reaching the foot of the final climb.
The Montaña de Cullera, known locally as “la subida de la Bola” for the spherical meteorological station at its summit, extends for 3 kilometres, although the riders will only be tackling the first two-thirds of it. Averaging 9.4 per cent with a brief section at twice that, the climb featured as the finale of the second stage of the 2020 Tour of the Valencian Community.
Tadej Pogačar was the victor that day, beating Alejandro Valverde and Dylan Teuns. The time gaps were small at the line, almost two dozen riders finishing within 30 seconds of the Slovenian. It was notable that Gianni Moscon was in the front group that finished on Pogačar’s heels, underlining that punchy riders could also be in the frame today.
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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