Three Vuelta’s ago we also saw a Pamplona-Lekunberri stage, and it took place on a very unusual date – Wednesday 21 October. It was the Vuelta that was plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic. No crowds were lining the roads. Both Pamplona and Lekunberri now get a second chance, although the route is totally different.
Back then, Marc Soler attacked in the descent of the last climb, the Alto San Miguel de Aralar. He held off nine chasers to solo to victory before Primoz Roglic sprinted to second place, 19 seconds later.
The climb to the Sanctuary of San Miguel de Aralar was brutal – 9.4 kilometres at 7.9% on bumpy tarmac – and the Puerto de Zuarrarrate is something else entirely. The average gradient of the 7.3 kilometres long climb sits at 4.8%. It’s part of a finishing circuit of some 30 kilometres long.
After cresting the Puerto de Zuarrarrate for the second time the riders descend with breakneck speeds to the finish line in Lekunberri.
The first three riders on the line gain time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprint – atop the Zuarrarrate for the second time – comes with 6, 4 and 2 seconds.
Ride the route yourself? Download GPX 15th stage 2023 Vuelta.
Another interesting read: results 15th stage 2023 Vuelta.
Vuelta a España 2023 stage 15: routes, profiles, more
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