Operating since 1954, the Valgrande Pajares ski resort is one of the oldest ski resorts in Spain. It’s located high up the Cuitu Negru and the easiest way to get there is with a ski lift. Obviously, the riders travel by bike, which means they cycle uphill for 19.5 kilometres against an average gradient of 5.2%. The first 7 kilometres are nergectible, maar then it begins. A section at 11% welcomes the riders roughly 7.5 kilometres from the finish, while the last 2.5 kilometres are especially brutal. This section goes up at almost 13% en peaks out at 24% just before the finish.
The run-up to the Cuitu Negru is not a walk in the park either. Following some minor climbs and a downhill the riders take on the Alto de la Colladiella after almost 30 kilometres. The 7.8 kilometres at 7.1% precedes the Alto de Santo Emiliano – 5.4 kilometres at 5.6% – before the route circles back to the Colladiella. After the second ascent the riders drop down to Figareo.
Still 40 kilometres to go at this point and it’s all uphill. Firstly as a flase flat and then, after moving through Puente de los Fierros, the finish climb kicks in .
The first and only Vuelta stage finish at Cuitu Negru dates back to 2012. Before that it was a rocky rust road, which was asphalted for the occasion. As a thank you to the road workers, Dario Cataldo dug deep on the Cuitu Negru to hold off his breakaway companion Thomas De Gendt. In the fight for GC Joaquim Rodríguez dropped Alberto Contador in the dying metres to gain 2 seconds, while Alejandro Valverde crossed the line 19 seconds later. Chris Froome – third on GC at that moment – lost 2.32 minutes.
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 4 seconds.
Vuelta a España 2024 stage 15: profile & more
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