As the crow flies, Mijas and Alhaurín de la Torre are merely 15 kilometres apart. On the road, it takes 25 kilometres to get for M to A as the area is quite hilly. Yet, not so hilly that we should not expect a bunch sprint. A bunch sprint Spanish style, that is – so only suited for fast men who don’t shy away from an occasional climb
Three editions ago, both Mijas and Alhaurín de la Torre hosted the start of a stage at La Vuelta. The last time a peloton visited Alhaurín de la Torre was in 2016 when the ITT of the Ruta del Sol took place in and around the town at the Guadalhorce Valley with Tejay van Garderen powering to victory. The year before that the same race finished in town. It was a demanding finale with the last 1,200 metres ramping up towards the line. Juan José Lobato took the win, 1 second ahead of John Degenkolb.
Following the start in Mijas the riders head for Marbella and hit the Puerto del Madroña. The 20 kilometres KOM-climb is averaging 5% and peaks at an elevation of 1,055 metres, yet the route climbs a little higher after a few flat kilometres. The riders drop down to Ronda before it goes back up again, yet not as long and also less steep as the former climb. Once again the route breaks though the 1,000 metres ceiling before a long drop with a few intermediate hills transfers the riders to 135 metres above sea level. Still 50 kilometres to go.
A rolling climb leads to Mijas – not the departure place though, but the white pueblo inland. The route once again drops down to the coast and moves through Torremolinos. 10 kilometres left to race, firstly a false flat down before the road starts to go up with 7 kilometres left. For 5 kilometres the road rises slightly with 400 metres at 5% its toughest stretch. The penultimate kilometre once again is a downhill false flat and when the flamme rouge flies over the road the route is flat until the line.
Vuelta a España 2018 stage 3: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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