Nine Summit Finishes for 2018 Vuelta a Espana
With no less than nine summit finishes, the 73rd edition of the Vuelta is ideally suited to the best climbers in world including Dumoulin, Quintana and Landa
Taking place from August 25-September 16, the 2018 Vuelta a España features no less than nine explosive summit finishes.
The 2017 Vuleta a Espana saw Chris Froome take the general classification, securing an historic Tour-Vuelta double, joining only Bernard Hinault and Jacques Anquetil in this achievement. He won't be back this year, as Team sky focuse on the Tour of Britain instead.
The First Week in Southern Spain Heading North
It starts in the resort town of Malaga in Southern Spain with a short time trial of eight kilometres, kicking off the 3,270 km three-week stage race and a longer 32.7 kilometre time trial at the start of the final third week ,which will suit the stronger general classification time trial specialists like Froome and Dumoulin.
Stage two is the first of the nine summit mountain finishes at Caminito del Rey atop the 570 metre climb of Alto de la Mesa. The finale will allow a climber to win the stage, just like Esteban Chaves did in 2015.
Stage 3 to Alhaurín de la Torre features a category one climb early on and should be day for the Sprinters.
Stage 4 will see the GC contenders attentive with the second summit finish atop the Alticar at 1,540 metres above sea level. Alticar covers over 12 kilometres with ramps of 12 per cent.
The race continues to head north east on Stage 5, the stage will provide another opportunity for the sprinters, but their teams will have to work very hard. The 2nd category climb, located 30km before the finish-line, will break up the peloton so could be a day for a Puncheur to take victory.
Stage 6 is another day for the Sprinters through the San Javier area on a flatish stage. The race turns north east away from the coast and heads inland.
Stage 7 to Pozo Alcón features a 3rd category clib in the last 12 kms and could see attacks as riders look to open up time gaps. Stage 8 is a long flatish stage heading across Spain that could see a breakaway escape, with the Sprinters teams wanted to keep any break in check.
After a transfer north, stage 9 from Talavera de la Reina see the third summit finish before the first rest day. The finish atop the 1,950 meters Alto de la Covatilla will be one of the first stages to have a real impact on the general classification contenders. This will be a stage to watch.
Second Week along the Bay of Biscay
After the first rest day the race continues to head north east towards the Bay of Biscay on the Iberian Coast. Stage 10 is a dead flat stage that is likely to see attacks to establish a breakaway and the Sprinters teams wanting to reel them in before the finish.
Stage 11 is the longest stage at 209 km and features three 3rd category climbs and one 2nd category climb. A breakaway is likely and could go all the way to the finish if the GC contenders teams are not interested in chasing.
Stage 12 along the rugged Galician coast is deceptive and features two category 3 climbs. The Sprinters teams will want to control the stage, but a breakaway of Rouleurs will want to get away and take the stage victory.
Triple Mountain Stages a Pivotal Moment
Stage 13 marks that start of three tough stages and will be a pivotal moment in the general classification. All three stages feature mountain finishes. Stage 13 an extremely tough finale before climbing La Camperona, the peloton will have to overcome another 1st category mountain pass, the Puerto de Tarna, which could reduce riders in the overall lead. A breakaway attempt is likely but could be a too important day for the GC riders whose teams will attentive.
The second day of the triple mountain finish stage in the northern Asturias region, will be a day for a breakaway attempt, which will see the GC teams work hard to protect their leaders. The day’s five categorised climbs serve up gradients touching on 23 per cent in places. The stage will end in atop the Alto les Praeres, a very demanding mountain pass, with slopes of up to 15%.
The third and final day of the triple mountain finishes, stage 15 finishes atop the Lakes of Covadonga and is one of the toughest stages, with over 4,000 metres of climbing. Along the way the peloton will have to climb the 1st caetgory Mirador del Filtro twice before reaches the final climb up to the Lakes of Covadonga. a truely brutal stage which shouldn't be missed!
Third and Final Week Towards Andorra
After a well earned rest day, this is the last opportunity for the GC contenders to create or close gaps on their rivals. Stage 16 is that stage with a 32,7 km individual time trial route that will suit the strong time trialist GC contenders like Froome and Dumoulin. The race could be won or lost on this stage, even after a thrilling previous three days of triple mountain top finishes.
Stage 17 to Balcón de Bizkaia, deep in the Basque Country, will attract a huge number of fans as riders must overcome over 3,000 metres of climbing, with an explosive finish-lineon Mount Oiz and slopes of up to 18%.
Stage 18 gives the GC a brief respite with a rolling stage that will suit the Sprinters teams, with GC favorites on their back wheels.
Two Brutal Summit Finishes before rolling into Madrid
Andorra will host a mountainous finale, stage 19 features a flat start and then a long uphill climb atop the 2,015 metre Col de la Rabassa for the eight mountain top finish, another stage not to miss!
Stage 20 will be the final chance for the GC contenders to stamp their authority on the race and is an absolutely brutal stage that will expose any weaknesses. It’s a brutal final mountain day that includes a relentless profile of six categorised climbs, four 1st category and one second and one third categor. The summit finish of Collada de La Gallina is at 1,850 metres and the stage features with around 4,000 metres of climbing in just 106 kms. This again will be a stage not to miss!
After the Saturday stage, the Vuelta caravan faces a long transfer south. As usual, the Vuelta ends with a flat stage in the country’s capital of Madrid.
“We are discovering new high-altitude finale's and we want the mountain to again be a determining factor for La Vuelta,” said race director Javier Guillén “These are the distinguishing marks that have allowed us to breathe new life into the race and which we will continue to defend.”
The race tries to balance the numerous explosive mountain days with time trial kilometres. After the eight kilometres in Málaga, the 32.7km individual TT from Santillana del Mar to Torrelavega in Cantabria should allow riders like Tom Dumoulin to gain time.
2018 Vuelta a Espana Stage Summary
Stage one, Sat 25, Aug Málaga to Málaga (ITT) 8km
Stage two, Sun 26, Aug Marbella – Caminito del Rey (summit) 163.9km
Stage three, Mon 27, Aug Mijas – Alhaurín de la Torre (hilly) 182.5km
Stage four, Tues 28, Aug Vélez-Málaga – Alfacar. Sierra de la Alfaguara (summit) 162km
Stage five, Weds 29, Aug Granada – Roquetas de Mar (hilly) 188km
Stage six, Thurs 30, Aug Huércal-Overa – San Javier (flat) 153km
Stage seven, Fri 31, Aug Puerto Lumbreras – Pozo Alcón (flat) 182km
Stage eight, Sat 1, Sept Linares – Almadén (flat) 195.5km
Stage nine, Sun 2, Sept Talavera de la Reina – La Covatilla (summit) 195km
Mon 3, Sept Rest day –
Stage 10, Tues 4, Sept Salamanca – Fermoselle (flat) 172.5km
Stage 11, Weds 5, Sept Provincia de Zamora – Ribeira Sacra. Luintra (hilly) 208.8km
Stage 12, Thurs 6, Sept Mondoñedo – Faro de Estaca de Bares. Mañón (hilly) 177.5km
Stage 13, Fri 7, Sept Candás – Valle de Sabero. La Camperona (summit) 175.5km
Stage 14, Sat 8, Sept Cistierna – Les Praeres. Nava (summit) 167km
Stage 15, Sun 9, Sept Ribera de Arriba – Lagos de Covadonga (summit) 185.5km
Mon 10, Sept Rest day –
Stage 16, Tues 11, Sept Santillana del Mar – Torrelavega (ITT) 32.7km
Stage 17, Weds 12, Sept Getxo – Balcón de Bizkaia (summit) 166.4km
Stage 18, Thurs 13, Sept Ejea de los Caballeros – Lleida (flat) 180.5km
Stage 19, Fri 14, Sept Lleida – Andorra. Naturlandia (summit) 157km
Stage 20, Sat 15, Sept Andorra. Escaldes-Engordany – Andorra. Collada de La Gallina. Santuario de Canolich (summit) 105.8km
Stage 21, Sun 16, Sept Madrid (flat) 112.3km