Stage 12: Logroño - Burgos, 148.0 km.
This would not be considered a horribly strenuous stage, in comparison to Stages 10 and
11 before the rest day, and its moderate length of 148 km should help the
riders get back into the swing after their long, long transfer. However, aside
from having broken their stride, there are two Cat 3 climbs and wind may well be the foe; it
is predicted to
blow as a headwind on parts of the course.
The first categoried climb of the day, the Cat 3 La Pradilla, has been
featured in the Vuelta a la Rioja, as this is Rioja land.
In 2001 Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano won the Logrono to Zaragosa stage, a
slightly flatter stage than this and another 30 or kilometers longer, but which
ran to the south, instead of to the north, to Burgos.
Tom Boonen told Eurosport last month that he would ride as far as Burgos, but
would then quit the Vuelta to rest and prepare for the Worlds, so, this being
true, Stage 12 will be the last day we would see Boonen mixing it up in a sprint.
Which leaves the other sprinter gentlemen to carry on alone...if they can make
it through the coming mountains.
Stage 13: Burgos - Santuario de la Bien Aparecida (Ampuero), 196.0 km
Stage 13 starts more brutal mountain stages, though the uphill finish to Santuario de la Bien
Aparecida looks like a blip compared to the Puerto de la Sia just past the midway
point of the stage. This year's stage that includes La Sia is quite similar to
last year's - Stage 13, which took in four categorized climbs (three Category
3's and the first category Puerto de la Sia) from Burgos to Santander.
The winner last year was Giovanni Lombardi of Acqua e Sapone, but on a flat
run-in. This year La Sia is almost at the same point in the stage, but instead
of a flat finish, this year's finish is uphill...and the agony will not yet be over for the riders.
Dali - Courtesy
Stage 14: Nestlé/La Penilla - Lagos de Covadonga, 172.3 km
The Lakes of Covadonga perhaps should be called the Russian Lakes instead...
Today is a very difficult uphill finish on a day with four climbs coming
before it. Here is the altimetry
of the famed Covadonga climb, which is the finish of the day: 14.2 kilometers
with an average gradient of 7.44%.
In 2000 was the epic battle of Heras against a Russian, Andrei
Zintchenko, who won, with Heras taking third. This year we wonder if the Russian
Menchov will still be in gold come day's end. In 2000, the parcours included
only one other climb, the 3rd Category Alto del Arbolleda, but this was the day
that Heras took over the Camiseta Ora from Angel Casero.
In 1997, it was another Russian, Pavel Tonkov, who won the day (again with
only one other climb on the stage), ahead of Zulle, the late José María "Chava"
Jimenez, Escartin and Dufaux.
Here are more recent Vuelta podiums at Lagos de Covadonga, courtesy of the
1983: Alto de Campoo - Lagos de Covadonga - Lejarreta (E) Hinault (F) Alberto
1984: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - Dietzen (A) Caritoux (F) Alberto
1985: Oviedo - Lagos de Covadonga - Pedro Delgado (E) R.Millar (GB) Alvaro Pino
1986: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - R.Millar (GB) Pedro Delgado (E) Dietzen
1987: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - Lucho Herrera (C) Belda (E) Kelly (IR)
1989: Santoña - Lagos de Covadonga - Alvaro Pino (E) O .J. Vargas (C) Fabio
1991: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - Lucho Herrera (C) Ugrumov (UK) Lejarreta
1992: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - Pedro Delgado (E) Rominger (S) Montoya
1993: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - Rincón (C) Rominger (S) Zülle (S)
1994: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - Jalabert (F) R. Torres (E) A. Cepele
1996: Oviedo - Lagos de Covadonga - Jalabert (F) Zülle (S) Mauro Gianetti (S)
1997: Oviedo - Lagos de Covadonga - Tonkov (R) Zülle (S) J.M. Jiménez (E)
2000: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - Zintchenko (R) Pugaci (MOL)
2001: Gijón - Lagos de Covadonga - J.M. Mercado (E) Oscar Sevilla (E)
Joseba Beloki (E)
There is also a great graphic and photos of the 2001 Lagos de Covadonga climb
on Ciclismo en Asturias, the winner of which is a man who figured prominently in
a recent climbing stage in the 2005 edition. Click
here and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Stage 15: Cangas de Onís - Estacion de Esqui Valgrande/Pajares, 191.0 km
Were yesterday not enough, Stage 15 finishes atop another legendary Spanish
mountain, at the Pajares ski resort. As Fabio said in his Vuelta presentation
last winter: "It’s the third straight mountain top finish, the sixth one in the
2005 Tour of Spain … but also the last one in the race. Indeed, maybe with the
intention to provide the fastest riders to stay in the bunch, the Vuelta
organizers - who sidelined the Angliru for the second consecutive time - made
the quite unusual decision not to include any super-demanding mountain stage
with a string of major difficulties in the last week."
The Puerto de Pajares, in the Asturian region, has featured a number of times
in the Vuelta:
1965: Mieres-Pajares (C.R.I.) - R. Poulidor (F) F. Gabica (E) E. Vélez
1988: León - Brañilín - Alvaro Pino (E) Lale Cubino (E) Angel Arroyo (E)
1989: Cangas de Onís-Brañilín - Ivan Ivanov (R) Pedro Delgado (E) Alvaro
1997: Ponferrada-Brañilín - Pavel Tonkov (R) J. M. Jiménez (E) Laurent
After this day, a collective sigh of relief should be heard (particularly
amongst the sprinters), as the final week of the Vuelta unfolds. However, there
are still two stages with multiple categoried climbs that should not be
Picasso - Courtesy
Rest Day Number 2 Quiz (Answers below, no peeking)
1. In the 2000 edition of the Vuelta, who were the top five in the Mountains
2. In the 1997 edition, who was the Meta Volantes winner?
The 1997 Meta Volantes winner. Courtesy Sportec.
3. In what country was the 1997 Meta Volantes' winner's team registered, and
what well-known, Ukrainian current pro was on their Vuelta team that year?
4. 1998 was a banner year for the Spanish in the Vuelta. Why?
5. In 1983, Stage 10 (Zaragosa to Soria), what unusual circumstance is
supposed to have cost
Marino Lejarreta his race leadership?
6. In the 2000 edition, in the final time trial in Madrid (38,6 km), which
two riders alternated back and forth at the top of the intermediate check
points? And who was the winner of that stage?
Do you have the answers???
1. Top five in the 2000 Vuelta Mountains Classification:
1. Sastre, Carlos
2. Heras, Roberto
3. Laiseka, Roberto
4. Cardenas, Rafael
5. Simoni, Gilberto
2. The 1997 Meta Volantes winner was Italian Mauro Radaelli of the AKI-Safi
3. The AKI-Safi team was registered in Monaco. Sergiy Honchar was part of the
AKI-Safi team for the 97 Vuelta.
4. Spain had not had a home country winner for six years, until Abraham Olano
won in 1998. Not only that, but three Spaniards graced the final podium - Olano,
Escartín and Jimenez.
Abraham Olano. Courtesy Sportec.
5. The wind was so strong on that stage that it knocked Marino
to the ground.
6. Angel Casero and Santos González alternated back and forth at
the check points:
1. Casero 8.55
2. González at 1"
1. González 20.53
2. Casero at 13"
1. González at 37.32
2. Casero at 10"
The eventual winner was Santos González with a time of 45.26.
Spain by Salvador Dali. Courtesy