Dénia is situated on the Costa Blanca, just north of cycling hotbed Calpe. While Calpe is famous for being the destination of choice for many pro-cycling teams preparing for the season, Dénia and cycling is a less obvious combination. The last time that La Vuelta visited the Valencian beach town was in 1990. The race went to Murcia and Silvio Martinello sprinted to triumph.
Fast finishers leaving Dénia will cherish no such hope this time. The route goes to the Xorret de Catí in the Sierra del Maigmó. The finale looks set to detonate the fireworks. Starting as a false flat the road ramps up to accumulate into a 5 kilometres climb with an average gradient of 9%. Following the treacherous first part the Xorret de Catí climbs at double digits for almost 2 kilometres. Close to the top it levels out a little, although still going up at 7.8%. The steepest stretch is 18%.
After the top the route continues with a 2 kilometres descent before going uphill again after the flamme rouge.
La Vuelta last visited the Xorret de Catí in 2017. Julian Alaphilippe won from the breakaway after dropping Rafal Majka and Jan Polanc in the last kilometre. The Frncheman thus succeeded David Moncoutie (2010), Gustavo César (2009), Eladio Jiménez (2000,2004) and José María Jiménez (1998) as a Vuelta stage winner on Xorret de Catí.
The first three riders on the line gain time bonuses of 10, 6 and 4 seconds, while the intermediate sprint comes with 3, 2 and 1 seconds.
Vuelta a España 2023 stage 8: profile, more
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