Stage 9: Villaviciosa – Les Praeres, Nava, 171.4km
The serpentine ascent to the Alto de Velefique is more than 20 kilometers long, with a 5.4 percent average grade (the final 13 kilometers average 6.4 percent).
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Day nine of racing brings the third summit finish thus far, reflecting a heavy opening week to the Vuelta, and ends with a wall of a climb.
The action begins with the second-ever stage from Villaviciosa, coming two years after the town’s debut. There are a quintet of climbs to reckon with. The cat two Alto del Torno sparks things up off 55.6 km after the start, and is followed by the tougher Mirador del Fito (km 93), a first category challenge which averages six percent over nine km and has three ramps of ten percent in steepness.
The Alto de la Llama (km 118.1) and La Campa (km 148.6) are more straightforward cat three ascents but simply act to whet the appetite prior to the big decider, the final climb of Les Praeres Nava.
This is, to be blunt, a brute. It may be just 3.9 kilometers long but it averages 12.9 percent and features points which are 23 and 24 percent respectively. Four years ago Simon Yates triumphed here and the finish is tailor-made for a similarly-explosive general classification contender.