A climb and a descent and we are 26 kilometres into the race. A flat section of 40 kilometres leads to the door of the second half of the race: Mojácar. From here on the roads will be going either up or down.
The party really gets started at the foot of Alto de Velefique. The climb opens with a first kilometre at 11.4% before the grades gradually flatten out until the last kilometre is merely a false flat. Yet, the 14 kilometres climb up the Velefique is not for the faint of heart. The average gradient from base to top is 6.4%.
Velefique is a former mining town in the Sierra de Filabres. In 2009 the place was finish to a stage with over 6,000 metres of vertical climbing. The now retired Ryder Hesjedal powered to the win.
The closing climb leads to the largest telescope in mainland Europe, sitting in the Observatorio Astronómico de Calar Alto at an elevation of 2,168 metres. The 22 kilometres climb is averaging 6.3%, while the steepest sectors of 18% are on the lower slopes. In the section before the top the climb is irregular with steep stretches alternating with false flats and even short drops.
The victor atop Calar Alto steps in the shoes of Roberto Heras (2004) and Igor Antón (2006).
Stage 11 in the Vuelta a España comes with time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds for the first three riders.
Read also: favourites to win the 11th stage.
Vuelta 2017 stage 11: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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