Five mountains. Four cat 1s. A 16km climb to a summit finish. Yes, sirree, it’s time for the queen stage here at the Vuelta.
It’s sure to be a day when we will see the final podium taking shape. But will it be one of the GC favourites taking the victory or will we see a daring attempt from a rider with his eye on stage-winning glory?
Monday 8 September: Stage 16, San Martín del Rey Aurelio to La Farrapona. Lagos de Somiedo, 160.5km, high mountains
Look at that profile! The peloton face the first cat 1 climb after only 10km, and after that they’re either ascending or descending for the whole day. All the cat 1 climbs have double-digit maximum gradients, with the 16% ramps on the Alto de la Cobortoria looking particularly nasty.
I have to admit to a wry smile at the positioning of the intermediate sprints in between the climbs. I wonder if we will see The Mighty John Degenkolb sweeping these up today?
If the last two stages are anything to go by I expect all of the action will be on the last climb to the summit of La Farrapona. At 16.5km long and containing a series of changing gradients, this is not an easy ascent. The last 5km are vicious after an already hard ride.
I expect to see one of those exceptional, yet oh-so-difficult to watch stages. It really will be one not to miss.
Link: Official website
Header image: Mining Museum of Asturias