Mellow Velo

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La Vuelta 2019, Stage 18: Comunidad de Madrid. Colmenar Viejo > Becerril de la Sierra 12/09/2019 - 177,5 km

At 177.5 kilometres, the 18th stage of the Vuelta a España travels over four intermediate climbs from Colmenar Viejo to Becerril de la Sierra. The race route takes in several loops in a condensed area just north of Madrid and is played out in the middle mountains.

The 18th stage of La Vuelta ventures into the mountains of the Sierra de Guadarrama and Cuenca Alta del Manzanares. Following 20 kilometres on the flat, the uphill-party starts. The route includes four intermediate ascents before the race ends with a descent.

First up is the Puerto Navacerrada. The 11.8 kilometres ascent at 6.3% runs to the peak at 1,860 metres. After a few kilometres at that altitude the route plunges down to the foot of Puerto de la Morcuera.

The Morcuera is tackled twice, the first time on the easier northern side: 13.2 kilometres at 5% and very steady. On descent the riders move through Miraflores de la Sierra, only to return to the village some 23 kilometres later after a local lap.

They go back up the same roads that they just descended. Again, the Morcuera is a very steady climb, although somewhat steeper on this side: 10.4 kilometres at 6.7%.

The route continues to the Puerto de Cotos. At 13.9 kilometres, the climb is marked by an average gradient of 4.8%. The first four kilometres go up at 2 to 3% and the rest of the slope is hovering around 6%. In fact, the Cotos is familiar terrain, as it is the descent of the Navacerrada, which was the first ascent of the day.

Just like before, the route stays at altitude for a while before descending on the side that the riders climbed before.
Instead of returning all the way to Colmenar Viejo, the route turns right for a false flat (3%) run-in of 4 kilometres into Becerril de la Sierra.

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  • "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.


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    This reminds me a lot of the stage where Astana with Aru finally dropped an isolated Tom Dumoulin in 2015. They isolated Roglic today....
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  • AG

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    yep - going to be a fun stage.  Roglic was isolated and vulnerable yesterday so the other teams will throw everything at them today.
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  • Drummer Boy

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    I wonder now if Roglič will remain in strictly "protect" mode still, of if he'll feel the need to stamp his authority on the race with any aggressive action of his own. He's got his hands full with the Movistar duo now nipping at his heels, although mixed personal agendas may very well keep Valverde and Quintana looking less like Batman and Robin, and more The Riddler and The Joker.

    Equally, if not more intriguing, will be the battle for both the Third step of the podium in Madrid, along with determining the final  winner of the #white.

    Tadej Pogačar #uae has 0:27 advantage over Miguel Ángel López  #astana for the Young Rider Classification.

    There will be a very interesting dynamic unfolding as those two both look to contend with one another, while simultaneously trying to dislodge the GC position just above them. They are both allies and opponents in the same breath.

    If we take Primož out of the mix, here's how the battle for the bottom of the podium looks, with the times relative to the rider in front of them:

    2nd Nairo Quintana #movistar
    3rd Alejandro Valverde #movistar +:28
    4th Tadej Pogačar #uae (+:54)
    5th Miguel Ángel López  #astana (+:27)

    With Stage 20 offering the only uphill finish still on the books, that might be quite a big ask to unseat Valverde with the "potential" power of #movistar backing him up. The battle between the two young guns is the closer of the two, but it will be fun to see what #uae  and/or #astana have up their sleeves, or are capable of in this closing week.

    It's shaping up to be quite a nice Grand Tour after all.  :cool

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  • Drummer Boy

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    An ironic headline for the Colombian sprinter/rouleur.   :D

    Quintana loses time on mountain stage

    Mostly uneventful stage except for #ef and Colombian fans.

    Sergio Higuita takes the stage in his maiden Grand Tour.


    Movistar continue to Movistar.

    López overtakes Pogačar for the #white, while the young Slovenian slips to fifth overall.

    Not much else to deconstruct.

    Bring on the next stage...
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  • Drummer Boy

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    If the GC battle of this Vuelta could be summed up in one photo...

    Nice little dig by Primož there to snatch a few seconds at the line from Alejandro.
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  • PeteFromLeeds

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    Shame to see Pogacar lose time, I've been enjoying his presence in the race. I guess that's what you expect though with such a young rider who hasn't been a massive GC threat before...
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