Vuelta 2019 Route stage 13: Bilbao - Los Machucos

Vuelta 2019 route stage 13Friday 6 September - At 167.3 kilometres, the 13th stage of La Vuelta is a war of attrition. Following six intermediate climbs the race finishes atop Los Machucos. Or, as the Spaniard prefer to say, 'rampas inhumanas'.

Alto de la Escrita, Alto de Ubal, Collado de Asón, Puerto de Alisas, Puerto de Vuenta las Varas and Puerto de la Cruz de Usaño. And that’s basically just the warm up exercise as the finale is brutal. The ulimate climb is narrow and painfully steep. Eventual winner Chris Froome found himself on the back foot, while tackling Los Machucos in 2017.

The Spanish are talking about ‘rampas inhumanas’ when referring to the Alto de los Machucos.
The Cantabrian mountain is a synonym for torture. The climb is 7.3 kilometres at 8.7%, but this figure doesn’t tell the story properly. At the bottom of the climb the party with a 17.5% ramp before it is followed by a steep descent. After 1 kilometre the riders stumble upon a 26% gradient, which continues onto a small plateau and yet another crazy ramp (25%). Find a cadence? Forget it! The climb is seesawing between ‘rampas inhumanas’ and 10% descents, although the section between kilometre 3 and 6 is less irregular with its average gradient of around 10%. The climb flattens out near the top. The ultimate kilometre begins with a drop before a false flat last stretch.

In 2017, Los Machucos was an unprecedented climb in La Vuelta. Attacker Stefan Denifl dragged himself to victory on the narrow track, despite an impressive chase by Alberto Contador. Froome lost time to his opponents – in particular, the blood-smelling Shark of Messina -, but retained the red jersey.

Vuelta a España 2019 stage 13: route, elevation, more

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