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Featuring 2 time trails and, no less than, 8 uphill finishes; the 74th edition of the race is promising to be a challenging and unpredictable race.
Kicking off in the Alicante region on August the 24th with a flat, fast team time trial, and concluding September 15th with the processional sprint stage into Madrid; this year’s Vuelta features new ascents, alongside familiar cols, and majestic mountain passes. As if that weren’t enough, here are a few other reasons to fall in love with La Vuelta a España this year.
The first three stages of this years Vuelta will take place in the popular holiday region of Alicante. The Gran Salina will take place from Salinas de Torrevieja a nature reserve famous for it’s pink hued lakes, and variety of plants, birds and wildlife. Stage one is a flat TTT from Salinas de Torrevieja to Torrevieja. This promises a fast and exciting opening to the tour. Stage two, on the other hand, is a hillier affair, offering 3 categorized climbs and starting out from the world famous seaside resort of Benidorm. Stage three offers the possibility of an electric sprint finish, as the last 40 km head mostly downhill towards the city of Alicante.
With all of this racing taking place over the August Bank Holiday weekend, this is the perfect opportunity to get away, and experience some top drawer racing, in a resort that is perfect for all the family.
There are 8 uphill finishes on this years Vuelta (5 of which are new to the tour). Although that is one less than featured on the 2018 edition, the race will be sure to maintain its reputation for punishing climbs, with its first mountain top finish coming at the end of stage 5 which takes riders to the Observatorio Astrofísico de Javalambre at 1950m.
This years race should be reaching red hot temperatures before long, as riders take on the”brutally difficult,”stage 9 through the Andorran mountains.
This stage, described by some as the single hardest on the 2019 route, includes five categorized climbs in just 96 km, finishing on the Cortals D’Encamp first category summit finish. The Col de la Gallina was the final climb of the 2018 Vuelta, with almost 12km of climbing, averaging a dizzying 8.3%, this should prove a good test for GC contenders such as defending champ Simon Yates, who sealed his victory on these slopes.This stage also includes four kilometres of gravel on the Alto de Engolasters, which has never before been used in the races history.
After all of this the riders will definitely have earned their rest day before stage 10, this year’s only individual time trial, 36 km of racing in France towards Pau.
Stage 13 is going to be grueling. Starting in Athletic Club’s San Mames stadium, the stage takes on 6 tough climbs before the final punishing ascent, to the summit finish at Los Machucos
‘Rampas inhumanas’ is how the Spanish refer to the Alto de los Machucos. This 7.3 km climb averages at over 8%, but these figures do not tell the full story. The climb begins with a 17.5% ramp before see-sawing between steep descents and climbs of up to 26%!
Seasoned followers of La Vuelta may well remember the last time this heart-breaking, body breaking climb was included on the route, in 2017. Chris Froome had a toughday in the saddle back then, losing significant time to his rivals, and this stage promises to be just as dramatic in this edition of the race.
The final stage (21), is a flat, processional, sprinters stage, into the close of this year’s Vuelta in Madrid. It will be the 50th time that the race has finished in the Spanish capital and, as ever, promises to be an electric bunch sprint at the end. The races comes to a close with riders hitting a 5.8 km circuit on Paseo del Prado. This is a great opportunity to experince the emotional end of a Grand Tour, and to soak up the festive atmosphere of the city.
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