The first 100 kilometres of stage 18 in the Vuelta a España are played out on flat to rolling roads. After this warm-up the next 40 kilometres come with three serious ascents. In order of appearance the riders face Collada de Carmona – 4.8 kilometres at 7.3% -, Collada de Ozalba – 6 kilometres at 6.5% – and the Collada de la Hoz, which is a 6.7 kilometres climb that is averaging 5.8%.
Still, the tonic to ignite the race is saved for last. To reach the finish line near the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana the riders tackle a punchy last climb. Only 2.2 kilometres but with a nasty 9.3% slope.
Expect the teams with a good puncher to control the race to play their trump card in the finale. Or are we going to see another brave attack by Contador on Collada de la Hoz? In 2012, he won La Vuelta by a surprise-attack on these very slopes. It’s not unlikely if Contador and Nibali make a pact to put pressure on Froome and see if he finally cracks…?
Favourites 18th stage 2017 Vuelta
*** Vincenzo Nibali, Alberto Contador, Julian Alaphilippe, Thomas De Gendt
** Rui Costa, Tomasz Marczynski, Michael Woods, Matej Mohoric, Wilco Kelderman
* Daniel Moreno, Adam Yates, Daniel Navarro, Alexey Lutsenko, Ilnur Zakarin
Vuelta 2017 stage 18: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Scheduled times 18th stage
Route and profile final 64 km
Suances and Santo Toribio de Liébana at Google Maps
Streetview Santo Toribio de Liébana