Vuelta a España: Stage 16 preview

Stag16: Gijón to Valgrande-Pajares. Cuitu Negru, 183.5km

A snaggle-toothed stage that will go a long way towards consolidating the final top ten in the general classification. After an initial Cat 3 climb, the boys have to go over two punishing Cat 1s – the Puerto de San Lorenzo (10km, 8.5%) and Alto de la Cobertoria (8km, 8.6%) – before tackling the HC summit finish of Cuitu Negru (all 19.4km of it). This is the queen stage of this year’s Vuelta, the hardest stage of the race – in a race full of hard stages – that comes after two consecutive killer stages.

The final 3km may make grown men cry. In what has been a feature of this Vuelta, the stage winner has to take a deep breath and climb to the finish on gradients in the mid to high-teens with pitches of up to 25% in places. But of course! We know who loves gradients like that: Joaquim Rodriguez. If he can counter the inevitable attacks of Alberto Contador the way he has over the past two days then the Vuelta will be almost within his grasp.

Link: Vuelta a Espana official website

Leave a Reply