The riders roll down the start ramp near Centre Pompidou Málaga and past La Farola lighthouse the route enters the pier. Following an U-turn the route continues along the beach on the Paseo Maritimo Pablo Ruiz Picasso. It’s a long and flat straight so it’s time to push a big gear. A left-hander at kilometre 4.2 and the riders climb into the El Limonar district on the Paso Salvador Rueda. This is Mount Gibralfaro and the summit is crested near the Castillo de Gibralfaro, which dates back to the 10th century and is overlooking Málaga city and its port. The punchy ascent is 1.5 kilometres and averaging 6% before a 400 metres descent runs to a 200 metres ramp at 8%.
The riders drop down to the centre and via a tunnel and roundabout they hit the Paseo del Parque for a new straight. A right turn leads to the Calle Larios, which is shopping epicentre of Málaga and the riders want to leave if fast behind as the finish is at the end of it, on the Plaza de la Constitución.
In 2015, Málaga hosted the Tour of Spain for the last time and Peter Sagan sprinted to victory in its streets ahead of Nacer Bouhanni and John Degenkolb. The last time La Vuelta took in the Gibralfaro climb was in 2010, when Philippe Gilbert took the 3rd stage ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez near the gates of the Castle.
Vuelta a España 2018 stage 1: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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