A climb and a descent and we are 26 kilometres into the race. A flat section of 46 kilometres leads to the door of the second half of the race: Mojácar. From here on the roads will be going either up or down.
The party really gets started at the foot of Alto de Velefique. The climb opens with a first kilometre at 11.4% before the grades gradually flatten out until the last kilometre is merely a false flat. Yet, the 13.2 kilometres climb up the Velefique is not for the faint of heart. The average gradient from base to top is 7.3%.
Velefique is a former mining town in the Sierra de Filabres. In 2009 the place was finish to a stage with over 6,000 metres of vertical climbing. The now retired Ryder Hesjedal powered to the win.
The closing climb leads to the largest telescope in mainland Europe, sitting in the Observatorio Astronómico de Calar Alto at an elevation of 2,168 metres. The 15,5 kilometres climb is averaging 6%, while the ascent takes in a few double digits kilometres on the lower slopes. From kilometre 7 onwards the climb is irregular with steep stretches alternating with false flats and short drops.
The victor atop Calar Alto steps in the shoes of Roberto Heras (2004) and Igor Antón (2006).
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprint (at kilometre 103.4) comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Read also: results/race report 11th stage 2017 Vuelta.
Vuelta 2017 stage 11: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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