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La Vuelta 2021 - Stage 18: Salas > Altu d’El Gamoniteiru 162,6 km **Spoilers**

Stage 18: Salas > Altu d’El Gamoniteiru 162,6 km

02-02-2021
Start time: 11-38am


To my mind there is no question that this is the Queen stage. The organisers have been at pains to point out: “an elevation gain rarely seen before in La Vuelta”.
In fact the route features an elevation gain of more than 5,000 metres on a 162.6 kilometres route with four categorised climbs. From the start in Salas, the route heads south, for 40 kilometres of the race climb false flat to the foot of the first climb, where the race turns towards the East and heads into them thar hills.



Again the climbs are typical of this area, being extremely steep, if not excessively long. The exception being the final climb of Gamoniteiru, which is not only extremely steep, but almost Alpine like in length. Gamoniteiru, the Altu d’el Angliru’s near neighbour and equally intimidating twin, sits high above the Altu de la Cobertoria pass.



The Climbs:

Puerto de San Lorenzo.
Puertu de San Llaurienzu (Puerto de San Lorenzo) from La Riera is set entirely within the boundaries of the stunning Somiedo Natural Park. The scenery here is spectacular, with the mountains home to the widest variety of mega-fauna anywhere in Spain. It has been a regular feature on the Vuelta, including in the last two editions when Frenchmen Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroën) in 2019 and Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) in 2020 were first to the top.
The climb is approximately 10 kilometres long at an average of 8.6%, but has long, double digit sections.





Alto de la Cobertoria
Up next is the Alto de la Cobertoria, which is another grinding test. Again a prolonged false flat before the actual ascent of 7.9 kilometres goes up with an average gradient of 8.6%. The second half climbs at almost 10%.



Altu del Cordal
Altu del Cordal, another Vuelta favourite. It’s a second-category test from this side, averaging a mere 3.8 per cent for its 12.2km, although the final 8kilometres are slightly more testing.



Alto de Gamoniteiro
The special-category Gamoniteiru, which averages an eye-watering 9.8 per cent for no less than 14.6km. Its first half rises to the Cobertoria and contains a stretch of 5km averaging 11.4 per cent, before some relief arrives. The riders will reach the new section to the Gamoniteiru. Here the slope’s increases the higher they climb until a final kilometre at 13% and, just before the line the climb offers one final sting in it's tail, with a ramp at 17%.





Initially, (before yesterday's stage) I felt this one most probably will not go to anyone from the break, as it seemed obvious that the GC riders will go all out on the finish climb. After all, for purebred climbers it’s now or never.
However, I now think the answer is never and that a top climber who gets into the break will take the spoils.

Favourites 18th stage 2021 Vuelta a España

*** Rafal Majka, Romain Bardet, Primoz Roglic
** Egan Bernal, Miguel Ángel López, Sepp Kuss, Adam Yates, Enric Mas
* Jack Haig, Mikel Nieve, Louis Meintjes, Ion Izagirre, Damiano Caruso

Salas

1 stage of La Vuelta have departed from Salas
4.900 inhabitants
Principality of Asturias.
In its particular pilgrimage to Santiago, La Vuelta 21’s peloton will stop at one of the regular transit points along The Way of St. James: the Asturian municipality of Salas. With a strong medieval tradition, Salas has one of the most interesting and best-preserved old city centres within the Principality of Asturias. In 1993, Salas hosted the departure of a stage headed for Ferrol.



Altu d’El Gamoniteiru

Unprecedented Vuelta finale
1.187 inhabitants (Quirós)
Principality of Asturias
If Lagos de Covadonga is one of La Vuelta’s most emblematic climbs, the Altu d’El Gamoniteiru promises to become an immediate classic. The Altu d’El Gamoniteiru will test the strength of the favourites just three days before the end of the race.



Tortos asturianos
Tortos is a traditional Spanish dish originating from the Asturias region. This humble dish is made with a combination of corn flour, ground pork that’s seasoned with paprika (picadillo), and eggs. The tortos (corn fritters) are made with a combination of corn flour, wheat flour, salt, water, and olive oil.



Chorizo a la sidra
Hailing from the region of Asturias, chorizo a la sidra is one of the most traditional Spanish tapas. It's made with fresh or uncured chorizo sausage that's cut into thick slices and fried in olive oil with the addition of Asturian apple cider until the liquid reduces.
This tapa is traditionally served warm in small clay pots.



Structure of the day:

Well, it has to be included doesn't it?
Not exactly a structure of beauty, but the radio and television signal repeater antennas of the central Asturian area atop the the summit of Gamoniteiro.



Sanctuary of the Virgin of Alba - Santuario de la Virgen de Alba

This sanctuary tiny, but of great significance in the devotion of Asturias, is on the rock of Alba, 1200meters, in one of the most mountainous Asturian municipalities,Quirós, from where you can see an imposing spectacle of mountains, landscapes and you can almost see the sea. It is enough to point out the nearby peaks that surround the rock of Alba: Pelitrón peak, Toriezo, Peñarueda, Fontan, which with its 2408msnm is the highest in the area, Cigalia with 2000m of altitude and the best known although not the highest peak of the Gamoniteiro at 1782m.


























"Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
«13

Posts

  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 17,783
    With any luck, this will be all over the place with 100k to go.

    Great thread, looking forward to seeing that first climb in the Somiedo Natural Park.
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,709
    Movistar will be without Carlos Verona today, he's been kept in hospital for observation following a crash yesterday. Leaves them very short of climbing support for Mas and Lopez.
  • andypandyp Posts: 8,709
    Dylan van Baarle is a non-starter too, persistent hip problem from his crash last week.
  • How long before CK announces that his pick for today would've been Hugh Carthy if he hadn't climbed off, even though he was going like a bag of spanners until he stopped, just because he won on Angliru
  • salsiccia1salsiccia1 Posts: 3,718
    I fully expect Movistar to sit and watch everything. Ineos haven't got it all right but at least Bernal isn't going to die wondering.
    It's only a bit of sport, Mun. Relax and enjoy the racing.
  • Seems like we have ourselves a massive breakaway group.
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • Majka, Storer, Aru, Taramaae and Vansevenant among the 30 odd riders
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • jimmyjamsjimmyjams Posts: 491
    That's a big break group - 30-35 riders! Looks like 6-8 teams have two riders there.

    As well as those who Blazing lists above, Izaguirre, Vanhoucke, and Brambilla also there.

    At the moment it looks like only the front 16 or so riders are working together and rotating, the other half of the group are just tagging along behind.

    Would be good to see a third Storer stage victory, but maybe it will be Aru's last fling?
  • I'm really baffled as to what Bahrain have in mind.
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,496
    I quickly switched the channel and Rob Hatch had certainly been busy today. Earlier he was doing both cycling and swimming at the Paralympics for radio and now he's doing the Benelux tour.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • Judging from that KoM battle, Majka definitely more interested in another stage win and those 20 points than the intermediate climbs.
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • jimmyjamsjimmyjams Posts: 491

    I'm really baffled as to what Bahrain have in mind.

    Keeping the gap to the break not too large, in view of the team competition?

    I think they have no one up front, whereas I think Jumbo have Bouwmann, and in the team competition, Bahrain only lead Jumbo by 6 mins odd.
    Seems very early to be worried about that though, considering the later climbs will tear up both break and peloton.
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,614
    No Carlton at the moment. Joy for cycling fans globally or are they just lulling us into a false sense of security?
  • Dorset_BoyDorset_Boy Posts: 4,358
    Pross said:

    No Carlton at the moment. Joy for cycling fans globally or are they just lulling us into a false sense of security?

    Carlton is recharging his battery and will be back to spout more sh!te in due course.
  • The peloton has split on the descent and is now smaller than the breakaway.
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • Gap coming down.
    It's looking more and more to me that all Bahrain are doing is setting it up for another Roglic stage win. (or Kuss)
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • mididoctorsmididoctors Posts: 10,448
    Bernal looks sluggish
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 17,783

    Gap coming down.
    It's looking more and more to me that all Bahrain are doing is setting it up for another Roglic stage win. (or Kuss)

    Trying to force a fight for the stage win, make it a bit more disorganised towards the end.

    I don't know what else they can do when they'd missed the break. Caruso is their best chance.
  • mididoctorsmididoctors Posts: 10,448
    Arishio is a solid rider
    "If I was a 38 year old man, I definitely wouldn't be riding a bright yellow bike with Hello Kitty disc wheels, put it that way. What we're witnessing here is the world's most high profile mid-life crisis" Afx237vi Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:43 pm
  • jimmyjamsjimmyjams Posts: 491

    Gap coming down.
    It's looking more and more to me that all Bahrain are doing is setting it up for another Roglic stage win. (or Kuss)

    Trying to force a fight for the stage win, make it a bit more disorganised towards the end.

    I don't know what else they can do when they'd missed the break. Caruso is their best chance.
    Maybe Bahrain are trying to tire/disorganise Movistar, so Haig replaces Lopez on the podium.

  • jimmyjamsjimmyjams Posts: 491
    They just passed one of these interesting buildings. It is a granary, used for storing maize. These little house-like buildings on stone stlits are dotted about everywhere in Asturias.


  • jimmyjamsjimmyjams Posts: 491
    Apparently Team DSM have done a lot of special descending training this last year, and Storer was one of those whose ability/confidence improved a lot.
    Although this descent just now isn't that difficult either - lots of long curves.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 17,783
    It's an impressive ride by Storer, but surely he can't do this through 30km of flat and then over another climb and then up the hardest climb of the year?

    He should get a guaranteed lead in the KOM though.
  • This going to come down to the GC riders, with Movistar also involved in the chase.
    Jumbo will be chuffed.
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,372 Lives Here
    OK I'm up on Sporza.

    What's the sitch, and why are Movistar absolutely drilling it?
  • Dorset_BoyDorset_Boy Posts: 4,358

    OK I'm up on Sporza.

    What's the sitch, and why are Movistar absolutely drilling it?

    No Spannish GT stage winner this year. They want a stage.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,372 Lives Here
    Thanks
  • So far Storer doing a better job of holding the combined chase of Movistar and Bahrain at bay than Bernal and Roglic managed against Bahrain yesterday.

    So far.
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • kingstongrahamkingstongraham Posts: 17,783
    jimmyjams said:

    Gap coming down.
    It's looking more and more to me that all Bahrain are doing is setting it up for another Roglic stage win. (or Kuss)

    Trying to force a fight for the stage win, make it a bit more disorganised towards the end.

    I don't know what else they can do when they'd missed the break. Caruso is their best chance.
    Maybe Bahrain are trying to tire/disorganise Movistar, so Haig replaces Lopez on the podium.

    Caruso's being burnt out early on this slope, so probably this.
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 25,496
    edited 2 September

    So far Storer doing a better job of holding the combined chase of Movistar and Bahrain at bay than Bernal and Roglic managed against Bahrain yesterday.

    So far.


    The gap between Storer and the peloton is exactly the same as it was 15km ago. I don't think anyone is going for a big attack today.
    Twitter: @RichN95
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