Apart from the final day, this is the shortest stage but it won’t feel like it. On the back of two tough days comes the most brutal stage of the lot. Given the legend of the Angliru, it’s amazing that this is only the Vuelta’s fifth encounter with this feared ascent. The approach is the short but mean route via the cat 1 Cordal. Riders then press on to the Angliru, where the previous winners are all pure climbers – José María Jiménez, Gilberto Simoni, Roberto Heras and Alberto Contador. The final 6.5km averages 13 per cent. Even the best climb it at little more than walking pace.
Vuelta flashback 1999, ‘Chava’ opens the Angliru’s Vuelta account
The search by all of the major tours for new and spectacular climbs led the Vuelta organisers to the Angliru, a narrow cattle track up a verdant and precipitous mountainside just south of Oviedo. Although it was only 13km long, many predicted that it would decide the race and while it didn’t, there was no lack of spectacle. Typically heavy Asturian rain made the descents tougher than the climbs that day, as they would also in 2002. On the Angliru, Pavel Tonkov ran out of gas on the steepest ramps, where José María ‘Chava’ Jiménez crawled past for a hugely popular win.
Highest point: 1,592m
Johnny Weltz says...
"There’s only one word for this – horrible! It’s so brutal and it’s a day where the small guys will really be in their element. I’d expect Igor Antón to respond extremely well in this kind of extreme climbing environment."
This article was originally published on Cyclingnews.com.