La Covatilla is a ski resort at an altitude of 1,962 metres, located 220 kilometres west of Madrid. Two years ago Ben King soloed to victory after attacking with Enric Mas with 20 kilometres out.
The official distance of the Covatilla climb is 9.8 kilometres with an average gradient 7.1%, which is really just scratching the surface. The finish climb rises multiple times at double digit gradients. The riders tackle the last 10% ramp with the flamme rouge flying over their head before the climb flattens out. The last 900 metres goes up at around 4%.
But the actual finish climb in itself is not the tricky part, the preceding climbing metres are. The race serves five ascents before the ultimate haul up finally kicks in.
La Covatilla hosted La Vuelta on five occasions. Ben King succeeded Dan Martin (2011), Danilo di Luca (2006), Félix Cárdenas (2004) and Santi Blanco (2002).
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