In the 2015 Vuelta the route also moved through this part of Spain. The riders cut through Linares on their way to Cazorla, where an intriguing battle for the overall lead was played out by Esteban Chaves and Tom Dumoulin. The Colombian not only won the stage, he also took the red jersey from the Dutchman.
Now the route goes the other way and enters the Parque Natural Sierra de Cardeña y Montoro. In the Natural Park the riders tackle the Alto de Españares, a 3rd category KOM-climb of 10.3 kilometres with an average gradient of 3.6%. No downhill though, the route follows a gradual and rolling descent to the sweltering plains north of Córdoba.
Following a flat section of 10 kilometres, the finale begins 6 kilometres before the line with a 2.4 kilometres slope at 3.4%, while the last 2 kilometres are averaging 3.8% and also feature a 7% kick with 200 metres to go.
The first three riders on the line take time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprint (at kilometre 123.6) comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Vuelta a España 2018 stage 8: Route maps, height profiles, and more
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