As the crow flies, Mijas and Alhaurín de la Torre are merely 15 kilometres apart. On the road, it takes 25 kilometres to get from one city to the other, 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.
Following the start in Mijas the riders head for Marbella and hit the Puerto del Madroña. The 20.1 kilometres KOM-climb is averaging around 5% and peaks at an elevation of 1,065 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 as and also less steep than the former climb. Once again the route breaks through 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 (false flat) up with 7 kilometres left. With 4.1 kilometres out the riders turn left at a roundabout to hit an extended final straight. The first half of it slopes at 2.5%, while the second half begins with a downhill false flat. When the flamme rouge flies over the road the route is flat until the line.
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprint (at kilometre 153.4) comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Vuelta a España 2018 stage 3: Route maps, height profiles, and more
Click on the images to zoom