The first 150 kilometres of the stage are played out between 800 metres and 1,100 metres above sea level. The undulating route on a plateau south of Burgos is far from remarkable. It’s a build-up to an explosive finale.
Laguna Negra is a black lake in the Urbion Peaks. The first 10 kilometer run false flat uphill, after which the gradients kick up to 6 or 7% on average. The last part is steepest. Opening with a section at 14%, the last 1.5 kilometers are averaging 9% with the ultimate 500 metres ramping up to 11.2%.
That’s exactly what happened three years ago. While the peloton thinned out on the climb, a select group entered the final kilometre. Dan Martin opened his sprint with 300 metres to go and he held off Primoz Roglic and Richard Carapaz, number one and three on GC. The Irishman himself was sitting in second place.
Laguna Negra rises 1,753 metres above sea level and the lake is shrouded by legends. The most common one is that the lake is bottomless and meets the sea hundreds of miles away through caves and subterranean currents. A Nessie-like tale also resonates, saying that a creature lives in its depths, devouring anything that falls into the water and sinks.
To be clear, riders who stagger into the water don’t have to fear, as the maximum depth of Laguna Negra is ten metres.
The first three riders on the line gain time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprint comes with 6, 4 and 2 seconds.
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Vuelta a España 2023 stage 11: routes, profiles, more
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