Vuelta 2021 Favourites stage 17: Battle of Covadonga

Romain Bardet - Vuelta 2021 Favourites stage 17: Battle of Covadongafoto: Cor VosStage 17 and 18 at La Vuelta will have a major impact on how the GC unfolds. The first of the two hardest races of the entire grand tour finishes at the iconic climb to the Lagos de Covadonga. Who are the major contenders to strike a blow and win near the glacial lakes?

Following a warm up climb up Alto de Hortiguero – 5.3 kilometres at 4.7% – a double dose of Collada Llomena lies at the heart of the 17th stage. The ascent is 7.6 kilometres long and slopes at 9.3%. And yes, it’s included twice. Ouch! And to think that the principal part is yet to come.

The 12.5 kilometres climb to the Lagos de Covadonga combines beauty with horror. The scenery is spectacular and the gradients are insane. Not so much the average – which sits at 6.9% -, but it’s the irregularity that’s killing. The first half climbs relatively steady – constantly hovering around 10% -, after which the second half alternates short descents with ramps up to 20%. So it’s impossible to find a comfortable rhythm.

Favourites 17th stage 2021 Vuelta a España

*** Primoz Roglic, Enric Mas, Romain Bardet
** Adam Yates, Miguel Ángel López, Sepp Kuss
* Damiano Caruso, Wout Poels, Rafal Majka, Michael Storer

Another interesting read: route 17th stage of the 2021 Vuelta.

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