Punchers and climbers are treated in the Tour of the Basque Country. Arguably, the first three legs are the most demanding. Stage 1 runs to a finish near Arrate Sanctuary. The final climb is 4.5 kilometres long and averages 8.9% before the last 2 kilometres are more or less flat. The Arrate climb will be back in La Vuelta next August.
The 2nd stage serves a finish on top of a Wall, as the last 3.1 kilometres go up at 11.1%. The ascent to the Santa María del Yermo Sanctuary above Llodio features ramps up to 23%.
The Tour of the Basque Country takes it up a notch on the third of action. Yes, that is possible. At 198 kilometres, the 3rd stage runs from Vitoria Gasteiz to the Alto de Ibardin and includes 4,000 vertical metres. The finish lies uphill after a 6.3 kilometres climb at 5.8%.
While travelling from Bera to Errentería, stage 4 amounts to 175.8 kilometres. The finale features the Puerto de Erlaitz, which is a 7.4 kilometres ascent with at its heart a section of 3.8 kilometres at 10.6%. The last 13.3 kilometres of the race go downhill.
The 5th stage should be for the sprinters – that is, the ‘Itzulia type’ of sprinters. At 180 kilometres, the race travels from Errentería to Biskay Province for a finish in Sestao. The home straight in the northwestern suburb of Bilbao goes uphill.
The final stage is an individual time trial of 21.1 kilometres in Bilbao. The route includes two ascents, both featuring double digit ramps, while a last kick up at 11% appears just before the line.
Tour of the Basque Country 2021: route, profiles, more
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