The Gran Salida is in Las Salinas de Torrevieja, a Natural Park south of Alicante. It is also known as Torrevieja Pink Lake, as the lagoon is famous for this coloration. The 1st stage is a 13.4 kilometres team time trial on the flat.
Stage 2 is a lumpy race from Benidorm to Calpe and stage 3 goes to Alicante. Albeit far from flat, this race could see a fast finishers showdown, which definitely is the case in stage 4. The finish is in El Puig, a town 15 kilometres north of Valencia.
La Vuelta serves its first summit finish on the fifth day of action. Stage 5 leads to a tough finale on the Pico del Buitre, which is an ascent of 11.1 kilometres with double digits gradients in the last 7 kilometres.
The 6th stage runs on hilly terrain to a summit finish in Ares del Maestrat, while La Vuelta peps up its elevation profile in stage 7 with the short but ultra-trying finale on the slopes of the Alto Mas de la Costa. Just 4.1 kilometres long, but brutal, as the average gradient sits at 12.3% and the steepest ramps go up at 22.5%.
Following another chance for sprinters or attackers in stage 8 the first week of action ends with the extremely demanding 9th stage in the mountains of Andorra. Cortals d’Encamp will serve as a finish at the end of a compact race of 94.4 kilometres. With the Ordino and Gallina climbs in the first part of the race, the final segment consists of three climbs in a row and 3.5 kilometres of dust road. The finale offers 20 kilometres of virtually continuous climbing.
Vuelta 2019: week 2
The Spanish Grand Tour is set to include an individual time trial in France after the first rest day. The 36.2 kilometres route runs from Jurançon to Pau. The town in the foothills of the Pyrenees also hosted an individual time trial in the last edition of the Tour de France.
The riders head back to Spain on 4 September. The 11th stage starts in Saint-Palais to finish in Urdax (or Urdazubi), where Valerio Conti soloed to victory in 2016. A promising Bilbao finish is scheduled for stage 12. The riders move through the city to tackle the 2.2 kilometres Arraiz climb before a flying descent into Bilbao.
La Vuelta then takes in a summit finish on Los Machucos in the 13th stage. The Spanish are talking about ‘rampas inhumanas’ when referring to this climb, which is a 6.8 kilometres monster at 9.2% with 25% ramps playing leapfrog with short sections downhill. To pep things up, Los Machucos is preceded with six intermediate climbs.
Oviedo is likely to see a sprint finish in stage 14, while the 15th stage is a tough test in Asturias. The route includes three climbs before a final haul up to the Santuario del Acebo, which is a 7.9 kilometres long ascent with an average gradient of 9.7%. The 16th stage is also for the climbers, although the gradients are not as intense. Emblematic is the ultimate climb, Alto de La Cubilla, a grinding uphill test of 17.8 kilometres at 6.2%.
Vuelta 2019: week 3
The 17th stage runs from Aranda de Duero to a likely sprint finish in Guadalajara, just north of Madrid, while stage 18 will be played out in the Sierra de Guadarrama, a mountain range close to the Spanish capital, where Fabio Aru won the 2015 Vuelta at the expense of Tom Dumoulin. This stage features intermediate climbs up the Puerto Navacerrada, Puerto de la Morcuera (twice) and Puerto de Cotos.
Stage 19 travels from Ávila to Toledo and is tailor-made for power sprinters and the penultimate stage runs on mountainous terrain from Arenas de San Pedro to a summit finish at Plataforma de Gredos. The last chance for climbers and GC men features no steep or long climbs, but the ceaseless onslaught is sure to do damage.
The last stage is for the sprinters. The race starts in Fuenlabrada and finishes on the well-known city circuit in Madrid.
Vuelta a España 2019: route, profiles, more
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