Originally, the 6th stage would have entered France for a summit finish at the Tourmalet, but COVID-19 rules forced La Vuelta the re-route the race. No El Portalet (15 kilometres at 4.5%), Aubisque (16.4 kilometres at 7.1%) and finale on the Tourmalet (19 kilometres at 7.4%), but a route covering the Alto de Petralbo (6.5 kilometres at 4.7%) and the Puerto de Cotefablo (13 kilometres at 4%) before a summit finish in ski resort Aramón Formigal after a finish climb 14.5 kilometres at 4.6%. So that’s something else entirely.
The race kicks into gear in Biescas and after a lap on a circuit around Sabiñánigo the continues onto the route of stage 5, only in opposite direction. On the run-in to the Cotefablo pass the 6th stage acquires a life of its own. The ascent goes up at shallow gradients, except for the third kilometre, which rises at 13.5%.
The route returns to Biescas and turns right on a road that eventually leads into France. In fact, it was part of the original route, when it would have served as the first climb. In the revamped 6th stage it is the finish climb. It runs on a wide road until a lefthander takes the riders onto the final kilometres. This road is narrow and, with gradients hovering around 7%, steeper than the first part of the ascent.
The Aramón Formigal climb is 14.5 kilometres long and the average gradient sits at 4,6%, while the total amount of vertical metres in stage 6 adds up to 3,040 metres.
So the revised 6th stage pales in comparison to the original route, but still, damage can be done. Just ask Chris Froome. In 2016 he lost La Vuelta on this very same parcours to Nairo Quintana after a very early attack by the Colombian.
The intermediate sprint – located in Biescas- comes with time bonuses of 3, 2 and 1 seconds, while the first three riders on the line gain 10, 6 and 4 seconds.
Another interesting read: route 6th stage 2020 Vuelta a España.
Vuelta a España 2020 stage 6: route, profiles, more
Click on the images to zoom