The stage sets off in Orihuela, located just northeast of Murcia, home of Alejandro Valverde. The place was also mentioned in the road book of last year’s Vuelta a España. On Sunday the 29th of August, stage 9 ran from Orihuela to Cumbre del Sol and Chris Froome cemented his overall lead, winning ahead of Esteban Chaves and Michael Woods.
This time the route runs to the summit of El Alto de las Canteras, some 70 kilometres inland from Cumbre del Sol. In the first 40 kilometres there is no sign of a mountain stage. The route is as flat as can be. But then the terrain starts to change. Nothing dramatic though, yet with almost 50 kilometres done La Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana arrives at La Garganta, a 3rd category climb.
The route rolls on to the next ascent, the Maigmó. The 2nd category summit is crested at kilometre 78 and after this there will hardly be any time for a breather. Shortly, the route climbs to the village Tibi – also 2nd category – and following the ensuing descent the riders are halfway.
The second half of the route begins with the longest climb of the day, La Carrasqueta, leading to the highest point at 1,021 metres above sea level. Could be cold up there! The 19.6 kilometres ascent is averaging 4%.
A 30 kilometres descent is interrupted by some climbing sections and then the riders are at the foot of the 5,3 kilometres at 3.3% ascent to the village Benillup, indicating that they have arrived at the closing circuit. A rolling descent of some 10 kilometres and a false flat run to the first passage in Cocentaina. A short descent and again it goes back up to Benillup. In the village there are 24 kilometres left to race.
The riders move through Cocentaina for a second time. The false flat kicks up a notch and they hit the closing climb. El Alto de las Canteras is 5 kilometres and averaging 7.8%, while the ultimate kilometre goes up at 12.3%.
Movistar-rider Rafael Valls was born in Cocentaina and two years ago José Joaquin Rojas soloed to the Spanish road race title in this town.
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds.
Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana 2018 stage 4: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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