Following a peak with 73.2 kilometres remaining and a climb that’s crested with 17.9 kilometres left, the Alto de los Machucos is the absolute eye-catcher of the day. No doubt this monster is going to decide on the winner. The steepest ramps are 26%, while the climb is averaging 8.7%.
The earlier climbs in the 17th stage of the Vuelta a España are the Portillo de Lunada (8.3 kilometres at 5.8%) and Puerto de Alisas (10 kilometres at 6%). For sure, the Alisas is no picnic, but at least it’s a regular climb, while Los Machucos is quite the opposite. The ascent totals 7.3 kilometres and the gradients go nuts once you hit the first slope. A section at 17.5% is followed by a 10% drop before the riders face ramps of 26%. Another short drops runs up to a 25% slope. And on you go, although the gradients mellow out a but between kilometre 3 and kilometre 6. That is, they are less extreme as the average gradient in this section is 13.4%. The last kilometre is a drop before the last stretch is a false flat to the line.
What’s it going to be, escapees or GC contenders? With a hilly section of approximately 100 kilometres running to the doable Portillo de Lunada it’s likely that we’ll see a front group entering the grueling finale with a considerable advantage. If there are strong climbers on board, it could be up that they survive the Puerto de Alisas and Alto de los Machucos and celebrate a grand victory on the summit of the monster mountain.
Favourites 17th stage 2017 Vuelta
*** Thomas De Gendt, Rafal Majka, Miguel Ángel López, Alberto Contador
** Esteban Chaves, Chris Froome, Jan Polanc, Sander Armée, Michael Woods
* Adam Yates, Wilco Kelderman, Romain Bardet, Simon Yates
Vuelta 2017 stage 17: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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