Arenas de San Pedro is a small town west of Madrid. The riders travel on the flat to the foot of the Puerto de Pedro Bernardo, which is a steady climb of 18.4 kilometres at 4.4%. Following a short drop the route continues to climb on the Puerto de Serranillos. Back in 1983, Bernard Hinault dropped his rival Julián Gorospe on these 9.2 kilometres slopes. The summit is crested after 45.5 kilometres.
The long descent of the Serranillos leads onto the Alto de Navatalgordo, which is the steepest climb of the day, albeit short: 3 kilometres at 7.2%. The route continues to go either up or down, but it takes a while for another opportunity to gain KOM points. At kilometre 119 the riders reach the summit of the Puerto de Chía after a 3 kilometres climb at 4%. Not hard in itself, but the energy-sapping road to get there wil have done some damage by now.
Up next is the Puerto de Peña Negra. This ascent also featured in last year’s Vuelta, although it was tackled from the other side on stage 9 (Ben King win). This time the climb begins in Piedrahíta and the road to the top is 14.2 kilometres long, while the average gradient sits at 5.7%. It is an extremely steady toil.
The Peña Negra is crested with 34.2 kilometres remaining. The riders plunge down to an undulating section to the foot of the last climb in the Sierra de Gredos The riders tackle the ultimate ascent to reach the Plataforma de Gredos after an irregular ascent of 9.4 kilometres at 3.8%, but with ramps up to 15%. It is the end of the road, literally. After the Plataforma the only way to continue is on foot.
The first three riders on the line gain time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprint (11 kilometres before the finish) comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
The race is expected to finish around 17.37 local time.
Another interesting read: results/race report 20th stage 2019 Vuelta a España.
Vuelta a España 2019 stage 20: route, profiles, more
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