The first 70 kilometres of the race are nothing special. On flat to rolling roads the route leads onto the first climb. The Zuarrarrate is 7.2 kilometres long and the average gradient sits at 4.8%.
Back in the valley there is hardly any respite. A 6 kilometres climb at 4% goes to Uitzi before the end of the ensuing descent coincides with the next climb. The Usategieta is 4.2 kilometres long and averages 5%. The riders are halfway when they reach the summit.
Following these three climbs – crammed together within 30 kilometres – there is, finally, time to take a breather. A long descent and a rolling section are the build-up to a promising finale. Once again, the route offers two climbs on the trot. First the Aritzulegi – 4.2 kilometres at 7.7% – and then the Alto de Agiña. The riders reach the summit of this 4.7 kilometres climb at 6.6% with 21.1 kilometres remaining.
Expect the rest of the race to be played out at breakneck speeds as the 14.5 kilometres until the finish climb go downhill – steep at first, then false flat. Just before the Alto de Ibardin there are bonus seconds up for grabs, while the ascent itself is 6.3 kilometres long and the average gradient sits at 5.8%.
The Ibardin last featured on the Tour of the Basque Country in 2012. Eventual race winner Samuel Sánchez outgunned Joaquim Rodríguez and Chris Horner in a three-up sprint.
The first three riders on the line gain time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while two intermediate sprints – at kilometre 159.7 and 191.4 – come with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Tour of the Basque Country 2021 stage 3: route, profile, more
Click on the images to zoom