Gandía is as a tourist destination on the Mediterranean coast, halfway between Valencia and Alicante. But no beach for the riders, they are forced the other way, into the mountains. The first climb appears after 7 kilometres. The Puerto la Llacuna adds up to 9.4 kilometres and comes with an average gradient of 6.2%, altough that statistic is wildly misleading. The first 4 kilometres climb at an average of over 8% and feature a section at 17%.
After the descent the riders navigate more undulating terrain for awhile. Effectually the route goes up until they reach the foot of the Puerto de Benilloba, which is a 3 kilometres climb at 3.5%.
The end of the downhill coincides with the base of the next climb. The Puerto de Tudons is an ascent of 7.1 kilometres with an average gradient of 5.2% – quite steady, as the steepest ramp goes up at 7.5%.
The riders drop down a long descent to enter a false flat that continues onto the Puerto El Collao. The 9.5 kilometres climb at 4.6% levels out a bit in the midway section, only to resume with 1 kilometre at 9.7%.
Still 39 kilometres to go at the top. A rolling descent of more than 15 kilometres takes the riders to Xixona – famous for its turrón, or nougat -, which lies at the foot of the Puerto de Tibi. The 5.3 kilometres climb at 5.3% rises at almost 10% in the middle section before mellowing out in the last 2 kilometres.
The Tibi climb is merely an appetizer for the finish climb. After a short descent and a short false flat the ascent to the Balcón de Alicante begins. The 8.4 kilometres climb averages 6.2%, while the second half is particularly brutal with an average gradient of almost 10%. The last few hundred metres go downhill.
The first three riders on the line gain time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds. Furthermore, 3, 2 and 1 seconds are available at the top of the Puerto de Tibi.
Another interesting read: results 7th stage 2021 Vuelta.
Vuelta a España 2021 stage 7: route, profiles, more
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