Following the start in Granada it’s clear what kind of day this is going to be. Not a flat metre a sight. No inhumanly steep ramps though, so chances are the race will come down to a bunch sprint.
With 38 kilometres done the riders move through Lanjarón, a spa-town in the Alpujarras. Yearly, on the 23rd of June, a huge water fight rages here for one hour. Starting at midnight until 1 am, the streets are packed with people and their buckets and water pistols.
The riders could use some of these refreshments underway, as they are still racing Andalusia, the southernmost province of Spain. Riding on the flanks of the Sierra Nevada, they head for the toughest climb of the day on Alto El Marchal. Yet, the Marchal is definitely not the hardest climb of Spain as it is 14.9 kilometres and averaging merely 3.8%. A 19 kilometres drop leads to the last 8 kilometres on the flat.
Roquetas de Mar was the arrival place of the last editions of the Clásica Almería. In 2017, Magnus Cort Nielsen sprinted to victory, while Caleb Ewan bested Danny van Poppel last February.
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprint (at kilometre 117.5) comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Vuelta a España 2018 stage 5: Route map, height profile, and more
Click on the images to zoom.
Lanjarón and Roquetas de Mar at Google Maps
Videos La Vuelta
Vuelta a España Tweets