Just looking at the average slope of the final climb you might think: what is this fuzz all about? Los Machucos is 6.8 kilometres long and the average gradient sits at 9.2%, so these statistics indicate it would be just a formality for the top GC guys. But what makes it hard are the fluctuating gradients. It is simply impossible to get into a rhythm, as ultra-steep sections and short downhills are playing leapfrog. The only steady section is kilometre three until five as this part runs uphill over 10%. There is even a kilometre at 15%.
In short, the last climb is perfect for explosive climbers. The lightweights in the peloton. A clash of GC riders is imminent, no matter what, yet a breakaway is also likely to be successful in the 13th stage of La Vuelta. The route ahead of Los Machucos is trying and it would not come as a surprise if a group of attackers reach the final haul up with a considerable head start.
On the other hand, red jersey Roglic is armed with a hefty advantage over Valverde, López and Quintana. If those three GC contenders want to win La Vuelta, well, the best and possibly only option is to attack from far out. This weekend serves to more climb stages, by why not start to put pressure on the Slovene as early as the Los Machucos stage.
Before the riders tackle Los Machucos, they face Alto de la Escrita (5.9 kilometres at 2.5%), Alto de Ubal (7.1 kilometres at 6.8%), Collado de Asón (14 kilometres at 3.7%), Puerto de Alisas (8.9 kilometres at 5.8%), Puerto de Vuenta las Varas (5.7 kilometres at 5%) and Puerto de la Cruz de Usaño (3.1 kilometres at 7%).
Favourites 13th stage 2019 Vuelta a España
*** Mikel Nieve, Pierre Latour, Esteban Chaves, Dylan Teuns
** Nairo Quintana, Primoz Roglic, Miguel Ángel López
* Alejandro Valverde, Wout Poels, Jesús Herrada, Sergio Higuita
Take a look at the route of the 13th stage of La Vuelta.
Vuelta a España 2019 stage 13: profile, finish climb
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