Except for some tolerable warm-up climbs early, the 13th stage actually features only two proper climbs. Still, we should expect pure climbers to come to the fore. Lightweight riders like Quintana. How in earth would it otherwise be possible to claw up these monstrous stretches of 25%?
That said, La Vuelta did finish twice at La Camperona and on both occasions it were stubborn characters who survived the contest of brute endurance. In 2014 Ryder Hesjedal was the best climber of the breakaway, while Sergey Lagutin did the same thing two years ago. Following a flat stage, the Russian tackled La Camperona 9 minutes ahead of the GC group, a gap that was almost halved on the top. Nairo Quintana attacked in the last kilometre to finish 4.41 down on Lagutin and 25 seconds ahead of Alberto Contador with Chris Froome another 8 seconds behind. In 2014, Hesjedal lost more than 3 minutes to the overall contenders on La Camperona.
To summarize, an attacker who wants to win this stage is obliged to enter the final climb with a generous lead. Yet, it would be even more spectacular for the big names to battle it out on La Camperona for La Roja and the stage win.
By the way, the route is similar to the La Camperona course in 2014. A tranquil first half – a tough ascent halfway (Puerto de Tarna is 16.8 kilometres and averaging 4.9%, with its second half at 6.3%) – and the race finishes 70 kilometres later atop La Camperona at the end of the inhumanly steep ultimate kilometres.
Favourites 13th stage 2018 Vuelta a España
*** Wilco Kelderman, Nairo Quintana, Miguel Ángel López, Simon Yates
** Bauke Mollema, Thibaut Pinot, Vincenzo Nibali, Richie Porte, Ben King
* Steven Kruijswijk, Rigoberto Uran, Ion Izagirre, Fabio Aru, Emanuel Buchmann
Vuelta a España 2018 stage 13: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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