Stage 3 travels to Andorra to finish in the ski resort above Arinsal. The finish climb is 6.9 kilometres long and averages 8.2%. La Vuelta then leaves the Pyrenees behind for stage 4 and stage 5, which are expected to see sprint finishes.
The Tour of Spain returns to the Valencia region in the second part of the first week. Stage 6 is a hilly race with a brutal finish near the Javalambre Observatory. The finish climb is 11.2 kilometres at 7.8%, but the second part is much harder than that average suggests.
It’s back to the sprinters in stage 7, while stage 8 travels from Denia to Xorret de Catí, where Julian Alaphilippe triumphed in 2017. The finale opens with a 5 kilometres at 9% – but ramping up to 18% – before a 2 kilometres downhill precedes a slightly uphill last kilometre.
Stage 9 travels on mountainous terrain to an irregular finish climb of 8.1 kilometres long. Double digit sections play leapfrog with short downhills, which results in an average gradient of 5.4%.
The deep – and soaring – south of Spain is not included in 2023. The lion’s share of the route is played in the northern part of Spain. The second week of action opens with an individual time trial in Valladolid before the 2020 finish climb to Laguna Negra returns. Three years ago, Dan Martin took the win ahead of Primoz Roglic and Richard Carapaz on the 7.7 kilometres at 5.8%. But the damage will be done in the last 700 metres, where the road ramps up to 10.5%.
A summit finish at the Col du Tourmalet is scheduled for stage 13, while stage 14 traverses both the French and Spanish side of the Pyrenees before finishing uphill in ski resort Larra-Belagua. Stage 15 goes from Pamplona to Lekunberri and finishes on desecnt.
Stage 16 traverses lumpy terrain before finishing on a 5 kilometres with ramps up to 14%, which is proper way to get warmed up for the 17th stage, as the brutal Angliru could turn out to be pre-decisive in terms of the overall victory with its 12.4 kilometres at 9.9%.
Stage 18 continues in the same vein. Following three intermediate climbs the race concludes with a double ascent of 8.3 kilometres long with an average gradient of 8.5%. Stage 19 stands in stark contrast, as the route hardly features any vertical metres.
And… buckle up for the last chance for climbers. Stage 20 is an energy sapping race through the Guadarrama mountains. The route takes in 4,000 metres of climbing spread out over ten classified climbs.
La Vuelta finishes in Madrid on a flat city circuit. In short, stage 21 is a perfect opportunity for fast men to shine and for the GC leader to drink in his moment of glory.
Vuelta a España 2023: route, profiles, more
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