Just looking at the arrival place one might think that the Caminito del Rey closing climb returns after its inaugural appearance in 2015, when Esteban Chaves outclimbed Tom Dumoulin on the 3.4 kilometres slopes at 7%. But no. This time the race ends atop Alto de Guadalhorce, which is an easier finale – 5.1 kilometres at 3.3%.
Think luxury yachts, expensive shops and big cars. The 2nd stage of the 2018 Tour of Spain starts in Marbella. No towering hotels for the masses, but large villas and expensive apartments and endless golf courses. There will be no luxury for the riders, though, the peloton faces a hilly and hot day in the saddle. Once the flag is dropped they tackle the Puerto de Ojén – 7.6 kilometres at 4.5% – before the Vuelta penetrates further into the hills north of the departure place. In the second half, the route is similar to 2015’s Caminito del Rey stage. At kilometre 60 the riders enter a 72 kilometres circuit and they cross the line at kilometre 91.5.
The Puerto de Ardales is crested 43.8 kilometres before the finish. The climb is 3.1 kilometres at 4.9% and peaks just after the village with the same name. A long descent runs to familiar roads, as the riders re-enter the circuit with around 30 kilometres left. Via Álora they continue to El Chorro, and shortly the closing climb begins. The 5.1 kilometres ascent slopes at 3.3%, while the last kilometre is toughest: 5.2%.
The final destination is the Caminito del Rey – that is, the race doesn’t end at this attraction in the Gaitanes Gorge, yet at the Visitor Reception Center. The actual Caminito del Rey is a cliff face boardwalk through a spectacular gorge. The walkway hangs 100 metres above the Guadalhorce River.
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprint (at kilometre 85.1) comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Vuelta a España 2018 stage 2: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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Marbella and Caminito del Rey at Google Maps
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