In the first 80 kilometres of the 12th stage in the Vuelta the route runs along the Costa del Col. This stretch is almost entirely flat until the riders turn right near Rincón de la Victoria. They hit the mountains of Axarquia and set sail for the Montes de Malaga. Firstly, the Puerto del Léon, which is a huge and irregular climb of 17.4 kilometres. The toughest part is a 900 metres Muro at 12% shortly after the village Olías.
A rolling descent leads to the base of the second and last climb. The Puerto del Torcal is an 7.6 kilometres ascent with an average gradient of 7%. The summit and the finish line are 17.5 kilometres apart, most of which is downhill. Yet, the last kilometre runs slightly uphill.
The first 80 kilometres along the Costa del Sol are perfect for a break away to distance the bunch. During the toil up the Puerto del Léon and Puerto del Torcal the best climber(s) will come to the fore before the descent to Antequera is probably going to limit the number of possible stage winners even further.
If the stage boils down to a clash between the GC contenders, we can expect the likes of Vincenzo Nibali to showcase their descending skills in the finale.
Favourites 12th stage 2017 Vuelta
*** Luis León Sánchez, Rui Costa, Jarlinson Pantano, Bart De Clercq
** Julian Alaphilippe, Thomas de Gendt, Matej Mohoric, Enric Mas, Alexis Gougeard
* Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome, Simon Yates, Adam Yates
Vuelta 2017 stage 12: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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