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60th Vuelta a Espana - Course Preview Part 3
By Janna Trevisanut
Date: 9/7/2005
60th Vuelta a Espana - Course Preview Part 3

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 great website Ciclismo en Asturias.

1983: Alto de Campoo - Lagos de Covadonga - Lejarreta (E) Hinault (F) Alberto Fernandez (E)
1984: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - Dietzen (A) Caritoux (F) Alberto Fernandez (E)
1985: Oviedo - Lagos de Covadonga - Pedro Delgado (E) R.Millar (GB) Alvaro Pino (E)
1986: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - R.Millar (GB) Pedro Delgado (E) Dietzen (A)
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 Parra (C)
1991: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - Lucho Herrera (C) Ugrumov (UK) Lejarreta (E)
1992: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - Pedro Delgado (E) Rominger (S) Montoya (E)
1993: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - Rincón (C) Rominger (S) Zülle (S)
1994: Santander - Lagos de Covadonga - Jalabert (F) R. Torres (E) A. Cepele (LIT)
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) Heras (E)
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 (E)
1988: León - Brañilín  - Alvaro Pino (E) Lale Cubino (E) Angel Arroyo (E)
1989: Cangas de Onís-Brañilín -  Ivan Ivanov (R) Pedro Delgado (E) Alvaro Pino (E)
1997: Ponferrada-Brañilín -  Pavel Tonkov (R) J. M. Jiménez (E) Laurent Dufaux (S)

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 discounted. 

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 Classification?

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???

Quiz 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 team.

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:

Km 8:

1. Casero 8.55
2. González at 1"

Km 18:

1. González 20.53
2. Casero at 13"

Km 28:

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

Related Articles
60th Vuelta a Espana – Course Preview Part 1
60th Vuelta a Espana – Course Preview Part 2

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