Gallery: Battles on the Alto de L’Angliru

Over the years the likes of Sevilla, Beloki, Leipheimer, Contador, Wiggins, and Froome fought up this fearsome climb.

On Sunday the Vuelta a España heads to one of the most feared climbs in Europe: The Alto de l’Angliru in Asturias. The climb is steep and barren, rising like a shark’s fin from the valley floor. The narrow, twisting road to the summit averages 10.5 percent for 12 or so kilometers, and near the top there are ramps that surpass 20 percent. And the weather conditions on the Angliru are as treacherous as the climb itself. The mountain is often buffeted by sharp winds and driving rain, and the summit is often shrouded in fog.

Organizers have sent the Vuelta a España peloton charging up the Angliru on seven occasions since it made its debut in 1999, and the climb never disappoints. It’s produced thrilling battles for the Vuelta’s red jersey between some of the top riders of the last two generations: Jan Ullrich, Alberto Contador, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, and others. He who hopes to win the Vuelta a España overall must survive its steep and punishing flanks.

Here, we’ve compiled some of our favorite images of riders suffering in the fog on Spain’s toughest climb, the Alto de l’Angliru.