Jonathan Castroviejo, the former European Champion time trialing who rides for Team Sky, lives in the departure place. After leaving Getxo the peloton criss-crosses through the Basque Country. The riders move through Bilbao before they hit the Alto de la Arboleda, an 8 kilometres climb at 5%.
Following the descent the route is Spanish flat – which means the route is rolling to undulating, yet there are no KOM-points to be gained. Halfway through the race the riders tackle the Alto de San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a 4 kilometres climb. Not too steep and leading to a gorgeous sea view at the top.
The riders drop down to a section on the flat that runs to the base of Monte Oiz. Still almost 50 kilometres out and five climbs to go. First the Balcón de Bizkaia from the easy side – an 8.3 kilometres climb with an average gradient of 3.9%. Following the descent the route climbs Alto Lehoizt Gane and Alto de Gontzagaigana before the Balcón de Bizkaia looms again. Now the ascent to the popular look-out point is tackled from the steeper side, meaning a 4.4 kilometres climb at 5.4%.
When the riders reach the Balcón de Bizkaia it’s basically just a warm-up for the final haul up to the line. The climb continues for 5 kilometres and the average gradient of this stretch is 11.9%. The line lies at the summit of Monte Oiz, a peak that has never been included in La Vuelta.
Vuelta a España 2018 stage 17: Route map, height profile, and more
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