Mellow Velo

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Talavera de la Reina > La Covatilla 02/09/2018 - Stage 9 - 200,8 km

Running from Talavera de la Reina to La Covatilla, the 9th stage of the Vuelta a España amounts to 200.8 kilometres. Two intermediate climbs and the last 24 kilometres run almost entirely uphill, while the last 7.9 kilometres to the line are averaging 8.5%.

Following a rolling section of 35 kilometres the riders arrive at the base of the Puerto del Pico, a 15.3 kilometres climb at 5.6%. A short descent before the route continues uphill, albeit gently.

Puerto del Pico: The well preserved Calzada Romana (Roman Road), which was used for centuries as the only way of communication between the two plateaus (North and South) and was used as a passage of transportation for the Roman armies. Later, it became a cattle route, which is still in use.

A new rolling section leads to the base of the Puerto de Peña Negra, which is a 13 kilometres climb at 4.5%.

Almost halfway, time for a breather. The riders fly down the mountain for 15 kilometres and ride the plains south of Salamanca for tens of kilometres. So hardly any obstacles until the riders hit the last climb, up to La Covatilla.

The final climb is made up of two parts. With 24 kilometres remaining the riders tackle the first uphill. This 9 kilometres section slopes at 3%, which is perfect to stretch the legs – yet, the climb is very irregular, fluctuating between (false) flats and sections of 8%.

Following a short descent the actual last climb appears. The uphill to La Covatilla amounts to 12.5 kilometres with an average gradient of 6.5%, although that statistic is biased. The first 4.7 kilometres go up at 4%, while the rest of the climb is averaging 8.5% with a lot of double digit stretches. The riders tackle the last 10% ramp with the flamme rouge flying over their head before the climb flattens out. The last 900 metres rise at around 4%.

La Covatilla is a ski resort at an altitude of 1,962 metres. The place hosted La Vuelta on four occasions. The last finish was in 2011, when Dan Martin outsprinted Bauke Mollema on the line. A group of 26 riders – with among them Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins – arrived within 1 minute of the winner. With his victory Martin followed in the footsteps of Danilo di Luca (2006), Félix Cárdenas (2004) and Santi Blanco (2002).

Favourites 9th stage 2018 Vuelta a España

:*:*:*:*:* Nairo Quintana, Miguel Ángel López,
:*:*:*:*  Steven Kruijswijk, Simon Yates, Daniel Martin, Rigoberto Uran
:*:*:* Fabio Aru, Wilco Kelderman, George Bennett, Thibaut Pinot
:*:* Enric Mas, Ilnur Zakarin, Emanuel Buchmann,Alejandro Valverde
:* David de la Cruz, Ion Izagirre, Rafal Majka

Talavera de la Reina
5 La Vuelta stages have departed from Talavera de la Reina

84,119 inhabitants

Toledo Province

 The last time that Talavera de la Reina hosted a La Vuelta stage was in 2011, with a departure that then led the peloton towards San Lorenzo del Escorial. This stage was eventually won by Joaquim ‘Purito' Rodríguez, who wore La Roja. Its privileged location, next to the Tajo River, has made this city a settlement for various cultures going back to prehistoric times: the Roman Empire, the Muslims and the Catholics have all had Talavera as a place of reference for its geographical location and its access to water.

La Covatilla

4 La Vuelta stages have had finales in La Covatilla

Salamanca Province

 Santi Blanco, Félix Cárdenas, Danilo di Lucca and Dan Martin are some of the riders who have added Alto de la Covatilla to their list of achievements over the past 15 years. This special category climb will be tackled for the fifth time during La Vuelta. The peloton will have to cross the ever-challenging Béjar Mountain Range, the birthplace of such riders as Lale Cubino, Roberto Heras and even Santi Blanco, himself.
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    Drummer Boy

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    Wait, is the peloton really racing over that "Roman Road" as depicted?  :o

    If so, is it like that for all 15 km?
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  • Mellow Velo

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    Wait, is the peloton really racing over that "Roman Road" as depicted?  :o

    If so, is it like that for all 15 km?

    While visiting Windsor, an American tourist was heard to say: "What a beautiful castle, but why did they go and build it so close to the airport." ;) :D

    A pretty Pico video.
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    after nine win-less year's in the World Tour, #dimension Ben King today took victory number #2 within one week

    He won it with great panache, no disrespect - but seeing in the stage communique that he got a 20 second penalty for illegal feeding from the car within the final 15k makes me wonder how this stage would have ended otherwise...
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    he still would have won.  Mollema was done ... he had nothing left and was lucky to survive as 2nd.

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  • PeteFromLeeds

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    Yates in red! Whether it's a good thing or not for him is questionable but hoping he can hold it.
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    Yeah, not to take anything from King but Mollema clearly blew up in the last stretches after what was really an extraordinary effort to chase down the American. Had another rider or two been strong enough to go with him, they might together have brought King back and rather sooner, but it was not to be.

    Mollema finished second here last time and he's second again. Amazing to think that was all the way back in 2011 with Cobo-Froome on the ticket and the guy is still only 31.

    Kwiatkowski finally done on GC. Does this mean he will come back to Flanders next Spring? Really hope so.
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    he still would have won.  Mollema was done ... he had nothing left and was lucky to survive as 2nd.

    Sorry, I am not sure I agree: King looked equally cooked further down on the slopes as Mollema did towards the top. It was a long mountain stage, it was hard on the break due to much headwind on the flat section and feeding was obviously a factor. If King didn't take food, maybe he would end up even more cooked than Mollema?  He visibly improved on the top slopes compared to further down and that's what some sugar can do for you, on a long climb at the end of a long stage, isn't it?
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