StoneDownhill, downhill, downhill. The Vuelta is doing it again. The peloton has to cross an almost vertical goat track in the seventeenth stage. Not the Angliru, but the “evil twin sister”. Introduction to the Alto del Gamoniteiro.
And whether the Vuelta organization has anything in store to make it even more difficult for the last week’s riders. With Angliru at Vuelta a España and Zoncolan and Mortirolo in the Giro many thought they saw almost everything in terms of difficulty, but now Vuelta’s organization is already rocking a tougher upside. Not the Angliru – which today’s riders will literally ignore – but the Alto del Gamoniteiro will soon be the hangman.
In what should be the Queen stage of the Tour of Spain, the monster climb at the end of stage seventeen is more than just a tricky part for the peloton. With 14.6 kilometers of climbing at an average incline of 9.8, the 1,465 meters vertical bridge in Asturias has been made into the castle. In addition, in the lead up to Gamoniteiro, there are two Class I climbs and one Class II ascent. To put it in Jean Picos’ words: Never pee.
The view at the top is great, but I’ve rarely driven there. It is very steep for training.
Longer and higher than Angliru
But what kind of thing is this Alto del Gamoniteiro now? Climbing at the Rolior cycling site is described as the “evil twin sister” of Alto del Angelo. And of course we all know that slope. The “Monster of Asturias” was first invaded in the Vuelta a bit at the beginning of this century, resulting in stunning images of identical passengers and support vehicles that blew out their engines to reach the summit. Last year, Hugh Carthy won another stage. Alto del Gamoniteiro would be more “evil”.
Both climbs are similar and are within a stone’s throw of each other. They are actually two slopes on the same side of the same mountain massif. Additionally, the route to Alto del Gamoniteiro is a little more south of the slope to Alto del Angliru, only the Gamoniteiro climb is more than two kilometers longer. The average climb rates are about the same. Angliru Peak is 1,570 meters in height, much lower than Gamoniteiro (1,768 meters).
Like Angliru, the road on Gamoniteiro often goes up ten percent or more. The only sections where the gradient drops below ten are a mile at the beginning and an intermediate section halfway. Other than that, he is drowning or swimming. For example, the last kilometer represents an average increase of 13 percent. So many riders will choose a chainring with 30 or more sprockets in the rear.
Bad road surface, narrow lane
Moreover, the quality of the road is questionable. It’s not a real gravel track, but the many potholes and stones in the asphalt ensure that it doesn’t swell even a meter. Here and there, the organization has poured some new runway, but to a very limited degree. The road also gets narrower and narrower along the way, which makes it difficult with fans for passengers to get enough lane. Climbing hasn’t been included in a bike race before, so there are question marks for everyone.
Perhaps with the exception of the Burgos-Bahrain passengers Pelayo Sanchez. The 21-year-old newcomer comes from the region and lives about twenty kilometers from Alto del Gamoniteiro. In ‘Rouleur’ he says local cycling enthusiasts have been begging the Vuelta organization for years to include climbing on the track. He himself says that he rarely drives it because it is very difficult. “The view at the top is great, but I rarely drive there. I prefer the slightly less steep side of the mountains to train well.”
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