Vuelta 2018 Favourites stage 17: Horror arrival at Balcón de Bizkaia

miguel angel lopez - Vuelta 2018 Favourites stage 17: Horror arrival at Balcón de BizkaiaThe Vuelta a España's 17th stage is emblematic for the Spanish Grand Tour. The route features more than 3,000 vertical metres, while the line lies on a goat track at the end of a 7.1 kilometres climb at 9.1%. The final 3.9 kilometres go up at 11% on narrow concrete slabs. (Slideshow route/profile)

The 17th stage of La Vuelta takes in five KOM climbs and a series of non-classified uphills. The last 20 kilometres features two KOMs – Alto de Santa Eufemia (3.8 kilometres at 6.1%) and Alto de Gontzegaraine (5.3 kilometres at 4%) – which actually is not too bad. But then the final haul up kicks in. And it’s not only those insane gradients of up to almost 24%, it’s the concrete, the bumpy road… And those wind turbines in the top – are these omens? Strong winds to top it all off?

Expect the breakaway to take shape early on. At kilometre 16.7 La Vuelta travels over the Alto de la Arboleda, which is a steady climb of 6.9 kilometres with an average gradient of 5.2%. So a perfect launchpad for a group of attackers to try their luck. How lucky they eventually will turn out to be obviously depends on how the race unfolds. Are there good climbers on board…? What is the lead with which they enter the finale…?

Bauke Mollema, Rafal Majka, Ben King and Dylan Teuns are among the most active breakaway riders on this Vuelta.

Favourites 17th stage 2018 Vuelta a España

*** Nairo Quintana, Miguel Ángel López, Simon Yates, Steven Kruijswijk
** Wilco Kelderman, Thibaut Pinot, Alejandro Valverde, Enric Mas
* Bauke Mollema, Ilnur Zakarin, Rafal Majka, Dylan Teuns, Ben King

Vuelta a España 2018 stage 17: Route map, height profile, and more

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