The Sanctuary of Arrate – or, as the Spanish prefer, the Santuario de la Virgen de Arrate – is a landmark in the Tour of the Basque Country. Since 2010 the route of the six-day stage-race takes in an arrival near this simple yet iconic Gothic-style temple. Victors were Samuel Sánchez (2010, 2011), Joaquim Rodríguez (2012, 2015), Nairo Quintana (2013), Wout Poels (2014), and Diego Rosa (2016, after a long solo). However, the 2017-edition brings a slight change as the closing climb is tackled from another side than usual, making the ascent shorter and steeper. After a 3.9 kilometres toil at 10.8% the riders are atop Alto de Usartza before the last 2 kilometres run on rolling roads to the finish line. The dying metres are downhill so expect the finish to be at breakneck speed.
Stage 5 in the Tour of the Basque Country starts out in Bilbao. Following a flat opener the Alto de Pagatza Elgeta looms after almost 40 kilometres – 5 uphill kilometres at 5.6%. Moments before the halfway point the riders tackle the Alto de Izua, which will be a hard nut to crack with 6.2 kilometres at 7%. Especially since the same climb is on the menu again after 35 kilometres.
But firstly Alto Trabakua – a 7.2 kilometres ascent that is averaging 5.2%. At the top 48 kilometres remain. Then a drop and once again the Izua, now crested with 32.6 kilometres to go.
After a drop almost 10 kilometres the riders tackle the Alto de Urkaregi, which is the penultimate climb. Not the hardest toughest climb in the Basque Country, yet the 5 kilometres climb is averaging 5.7%. A flying descent leads to Eibar and via Matsaria Kalea the riders hit the closing climb.
Three intermediate sprints – at kilometer na 65.1, at kilometre 82.6, and at kilometre 115.4. There are no time bonuses in the Tour of the Basque Country.
Tour of the Basque Country 2017 stage 5: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Climb details Alto de Izua
Climb details Alto de Usartza
Start and finish at Google maps