The race commences in Villadiego, a little town in Northern Spain. The peloton travels further north on a plateau before the route takes a different shape at kilometre 65. A drop and a rolling section run to the base of the first climb. Portillo de Lunada amounts to 8.3 kilometres, while it is averaging 5.8% and the steepest ramps are 8.2%. La Vuelta visited the Lunada before. For instance in 2011, when Guillaume Bonnafond was the first rider to crest.
A long drop takes the riders to sea level and at kilometre 152.6 the Puerto de Alisas appears. At 10 kilometres, this climb is averaging 6% while the steepest stretches are 8.3%. So that’s fairly regular – yet tough.
After a 10 kilometres descent there will be no place to hide. The Spanish are talking about ‘rampas inhumanas’ when referring to Los Machucos. From Bustablado the climb amounts to 7.3 kilometres.
Almost straight from the start the Cantabrian mountain is a synonym for torture. After 1 kilometre the riders stumble upon a 26% grade and from this point onwards it’s all systems go. Find a cadence? Forget it! The climb is seesawing between ramps of 25% and 10% descents. The ultimate kilometre begins with a drop before a false flat last stretch.
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprint (at kilometre 145.2) comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Read also: results/race report 17th stage 2017 Vuelta.
Vuelta 2017 stage 17: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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