Sant Cugat del Vallès lies just north of Barcelona. It’s an affluent with a long history, yet pro-cycling is not a part of it. We have to go back to go back to 2010 for a stage start at Volta a Catalunya. Back then, the last stage set off in Sant Cugat del Vallès to head for the Montjuic circuit in Barcelona. Joaquim Rodriguez won that edition’s overall.
Vallter 2000 served as an arrival more recently. In 2014, Tejay van Garderen won the 4th stage of that year’s Volta a Catalunya in the ski resort, while Nairo Quintana took the honours the year before that.
This year, the riders begin the 3rd stage with 20 kilometres on the flat before riding up a 15 kilometres false flat to an altitude of 600 metres. On rolling roads the route continues to the first ascent, Alt de Bracons, which goes up for 4.9 kilometres and its steepest stretch is 12%. The summit is crested at kilometre 101.
A descent and a rolling section on which the riders enter the parcours where Van Garderen found his mojo in 2014, and they keep riding the 2014 route until the finish line. Firstly Alt de Oix, a 7.7 kilometres climb with an average gradient of 5.3% and it’s fair to say that’s a biased statistic as the mountain flattens out before the summit.
The end of the descent coincides with the start of the penultimate climb, Alt de Rocabruna: 7.5 kilometres at 5.6%. No reward in the shape of a downhill though, but on a false flat it goes to the first uphill stretches of the closing climb. These are merely 3% for 9 kilometres and if you take this section into account the haul up to Vallter 2000 amounts to 21 kilometres at 5.5%. But it really boils down to the last 12 kilometres, in which the average gradient kick up to 7.3%, while the steepest ramps are 14%.
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprint (at kilometre 55) comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
The 3rd stage of the Volta a Catalunya starts at 11:35 and the finish is expected around 17:00.
Volta a Catalunya 2018 stage 3: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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