Following a virtually flat section of 80 kilometres the climbs are lined-up in the second half of the race. At kilometre 93.7 the riders crest the Puerto de Marianet (3.7 kilometres at 5.5%) before tackling the Puerto de Eslida (6 kilometres at 4.5%) and Puerto de Alcuda de Veo (4.2 kilometres at 4.4%). This is just warm-up material: 116 kilometres done, almost 70 kilometres remaining.
After 130 kilometres the riders are back where the 7th stage started – in Onda – before continuing on rolling roads to the foot of the Puerto del Salto del Caballo, where the fight for the stage win is expected to ignite. The Salto del Caballo, which is also called Mas del Moro, is an ascent of 10.4 kilometres long, while the average gradient sits at 4.6%. Containing three downhill sections in the second half, the climb also features a number of stretches at 11%.
The riders crest the Salto del Caballo with 22 kilometres left to race. The descent is broken up into two sections by an uphill kick halfway, and eventually the punchers can go all out on the Mas de la Costa. The final climb is a Wall of 4.1 kilometres long with an average gradient of 12.3% and ramps up to 22.5%.
Three years ago, Mathias Frank brought the early break home on this finishing Wall, while the top 4 on GC – Nairo Quintana, Chris Froome, Esteban Chaves, Alberto Contador – just looked at each other. Let’s hope for a different scenario to unroll this time. The route of this year’s Mas de la Costa stage is much more trying, so we should expect the GC guys to go head-to-head.
The first three riders on the line gain time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprint (at kilometre 130) comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Another interesting read: results/race report 7th stage 2019 Vuelta a España.
Vuelta a España 2019 stage 7: route, profile, more
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