The first 40 kilometres of the race climb false flat to the foot of the Puerto de San Lorenzo. This is an ascent of 10 kilometres long with an average gradient of 8.5%. The fourth and fifth kilometre are relatively easy, while the two kilometres before and after that section rise at more than 10%.
Up next is the Alto de la Cobertoria, which is another grinding test. Again a prolonged false flat before the actual ascent of 8.3 kilometres goes up with an average gradient of 8.2%. The Cobertoria is more regular than its predecessor, although there are still 3 kilometres climbing at 10%.
The riders enter the calm before the storm. There is little going on for kilometres before the Alto La Segá del Cordal appears. This is a gentle way to get ready for the brutal finale, as the 7.9 kilometres ascent is averaging 6.1%. A steady climb for a change.
As soon as the riders reach the valley the route goes vertical again. The Alto de Gamoniteiro is the definition of a monster climb. The first slopes and a section halfway up are relatively easy, the rest of the route points heavenward with double digit gradients. The last kilometre is the hardest with an average gradient of 13%.
The 18th stage of La Vuelta starts 12.38 and the race is expected to finish around 17.30 – both are local times.
Vuelta a España 2021 stage 18: profile & more
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