With 21 kilometres done the route crosses the Alto de Santo Emiliano after a 5.4 kilometres climb at 5.6%. Following the descent the riders continue on a string of non-categorized hills to the Mirador del Fito. This viewpoint is crested two times – firstly at kilometre 110 and again at kilometre 143.5. Both ascents are from another side. Mirador del Fito offers a wide view over both the Picos de Europa and the coastline of the Cantabrian Sea.
The second passage of the Mirador del Fito is with 42 kilometres remaining. The first 11 kilometres are on descent before a rolling section runs to the foot of the last climb.
Lagos de Covadonga did serve twenty times as a summit finish in the Vuelta a España. If you think of the first inclusion, in 1983, it’s clear that the ascent to the lakes has become one of the Spanish Grand Tour’s favourite climbs.
And rightly so. The scenery is spectacular and the same goes for the climb. The distance is 12.2 kilometres and the average gradient 7.2% – nothing special, one could argue. Yet, it’s an average. Some 4 kilometres up the mountain the riders face a 800 metres stretch at 15% and along the way double digit sectors alternate with small drops. The last kilometre, for instance, starts on descent before the route ramps up to 17.5% in the last 200 metres.
There is only one side to ascend Lagos de Covadonga. Since the climb debuted in 1983 a string of renowned riders have won here, including Marino Lejaretta, Pedro Delgado, Laurent Jalabert and Luis Herrera. Two years ago Nairo Quintana climbed to victory at the beautiful slopes.
Vuelta a España 2018 stage 15: Route map, height profile, and more
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Ribera de Arriba and Lagos de Covadonga at Google Maps
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