Departure place Mondoñedo is situated in the northern outliers of the Cantabrian Mountains. In a valley to be precise, and shortly after the start the riders tackle the 3rd category ascent of the Alto de Cadeira – 5.8 kilometres at 6.5%. It’s a good spot to launch an attack. The summit peaks at merely 435 metres, yet this is the highest point of today’s route.
Following the descent the route continues on rolling roads along the Galician coast – as rugged as enchanting – to turn inland in Porto do Barqueiro. At kilometre 124 the Alto de San Pedro appears. The first 3 kilometres go up at 7% – and feature 300 metres with double digit gradients – before a short drop leads to the less steep second part. The Alto de San Pedro amounts to 7.4 kilometres, while its average gradient is 4.9%.
Some 31 kilometres before the line a 2.9 kilometres hill at 6% sets the tone for the finale, as a string of short climbs mark the last 20 kilometres. Basically, the route heads from one hill to the next – 1 kilometre at 4.5% (with 18.4 kilometres left), 2.8 kilometres at 5% (14.2 kilometres left), 2.4 kilometres at 4.6% (9.2 kilometres left), 1.7 kilometres at 3.5% (5.2 kilometres left), and 1.2 kilometres at 2.6% (3.2 kilometres left).
La Vuelta once again moves through Porto do Barqueiro before the roads start to become more narrow in the last 7 kilometres and even tighter 1.5 kilometres before the line. Obviously, this is good news for attackers, as it will be hard to chase them down on alley-wide roads. The finish is at Faro de Estaca de Bares, the northernmost part of Spain.
The finale is further pepped up by a 1.2 kilometres drop with 2.6 kilometres to go before a 400 metres uphill kick at 2.8% runs to the last kilometre. These are slightly descending at 3%.
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprint (at kilometre 157) comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Vuelta a España 2018 stage 12: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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