The riders conquer more than 4,000 vertical metres on the road from Bilbao to Pico Jano. Shortly after the start the route goes up. Altough there are some minor downhill sections, the first 37 kilometres run predominantly uphill. Which is the raw material for an enticing battle for the breakaway. And since most of it goes up, a lead group of strong climbers is to be expected.
Two classified climbs feature in the run-up to the Pico Jano. The Puerto de Alisa is 8.7 kilometres long and averages 5.8%, while the Collada de Brenes is shorter (6.8 kilometres) but steeper (8.2%). The Brenes peaks out with 35 kilometres remaining. The first half is on descent and then the route climbs false flat to the base of the Pico Jano.
The Asturian mountain was never before included in La Vuelta. The 12.6 kilometres climb averages 6.6%, but that statistic is misleading. The real test is the irregularity. The first half in particular serves a number of double digit ramps.
If a lead group with strong climbers does emerge in the mountainous first 37 kilometres, that’s good news for the breakaway to succeed. On the other hand, a huge battle for the breakaway could also imply that it’ll take more than 37 kilometres for a group to break free. Another option is that the GC teams keep the attackers on a tight leash, which would result in the first big GC clash on Pico Jano.
Forced to take a pick, we would opt for the GC clash. And yes, we know, that might be wishful thinking.
Favourites 6th stage 2022 Vuelta a España
*** Richard Carapaz, Simon Yates, Primoz Roglic, Sergio Higuita
** Jai Hindley, Wilco Kelderman, Thibaut Pinot, Mikel Landa, Miguel Ángel López
* Wout Poels, Carlos Rodriguez, Fausto Masnada, Rein Taaramäe, Santiago Buitrago
Another interesting read: route 6th stage 2022 Vuelta.