Avila is a phenomenon. At an elevation of 1,127 meters it is the highest city in Spain. Moreover, it is enclosed by a 2.5 kilometres medieval city wall with nine gates and 88 towers. You could win a Vuelta-stage in a lesser decor.
Departure-town Medina del Campo was in yesteryear famous for its wool, textiles and books. The town is still dominated by an impressive castle, although that is merely a reconstruction dating back to the 20th century. But for centuries Spanish kings used Medina del Campo to lock-up political prisoners. The story of Cesare Borgia is epic. He – the son of Pope Alexander VI – escaped from a 40 meter tower with a rope.
Escaping will also be on many riders minds in stage 19. With 87 kilometres done they pass through Avila for the first time. No time for celebrations yet, they have to make a detour of nearly 100 kilometres culminating in the ascent of the Puerto de la Paramera – 2nd category, 17 kilometres. With an average grade of 4% the Paramera is a long and gradual ascent.
The Alto de Paramera peaks at 1,420 metres and after cresting there’s 20 kilometres left, mainly descending.
The finish is in the Old Town of Ávila, which lies higher than the surrounding area. The route up into town goes along the city walls and is covered with cobblestones at 6% grade. Exactly ten years ago Nicki Sörensen won the stage with the same arrival, only then it was the finale of a tough mountain stage. In 2009, the Irishman Philip Deignan was the last stage-winner in Avila.
The last kilometre in the town itself is a false flat.
Results/race report stage 19, Vuelta 2015.
Vuelta 2015 stage 19: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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