From the 7th till the 19th of December, you have a unique chance to experience the famous Grand Tour in its full glory, thanks to a 10-stage racing series featuring all the aspects of La Vuelta. Participants are going to kick off the tour with a TT race, just like the PROs; continue on sprinter-friendly routes, just like the PROs; conquer the mighty Spanish climbs, just like the PROs and eventually finish with another TT race - all the way just like the PROs!
A big part of the race’s spirit is defined by the parcours, where the battles take place. That is why we’ve selected 4 of the most interesting routes you are going to experience during the greatest virtual La Vuelta event of the season!
El Algar: In the captivity of the Mediterranean
It’s fast, flat and follows a spectacular part of the Spanish coast. The El Algar route, appearing in the third stage of La Vuelta Grande racing series, follows an absolutely special stretch of the coastline around Cartagena in the south of the country.
The natural barrier that divides the saltwater lagoon, Mar Menor, from the open sea, is at times as narrow as 150 m and it has the privilege of having hosted the final battle of 2021 La Vuelta Stage 8. This is where the Dutch sprinter, Fabio Jakobsen, took his second win on this year’s Spanish Grand Tour edition.
Luz Ardiden: The Climb With a Fair-Play History
Does the stage name ‘Luz Ardiden’ sound familiar to you? I bet it does! This tough and famous climb has been featured in the Tour de France nine times and twice in La Vuelta.
Of course, the highest point of this route in the heart of the Pyrenees is not only famous but is also stunningly scenic. Starting in the historical French town of Luz-Saint-Sauveur, the panorama always changes: from lush green forests to open, high mountain meadows. What doesn’t change throughout the climb is the slope’s angle that is constantly close to 7%.
The climb is not only famous for the big battles that occurred here but also for the story of great sportsmanship that happened during the Tour in 2003. Lance Armstrong had been fighting hard to win his fifth consecutive Tour, when he crashed and thus separated from the leading bunch. To everyone’s surprise Jan Ulrich together with Tyler Hamilton asked the rest of the leading group to slow down so that downed Armstrong could rejoin them and carry on with another thrilling battle. Notwithstanding Armstrong’s eventual fall from grace, this gentlemanly gesture displayed by the other riders can never be forgotten.
Alto de l'Angliru: ‘Inhumane, bloody and barbaric'
One may wonder: Is there even a tougher climb to conquer? l'Angliru is one of the most feared in the Vuelta and it’s definitely the toughest stage of La Vuelta Grande racing series on ROUVY. While on the road, you will get to read the signage, 'Hell starts here', at the 6km mark, which explains it all.
Halfway through the course, the gradient will average at around 13%, including some sections of 24%! Are you up to this challenge? Get the benefit of a racing atmosphere and push your limits on this beautiful mountain stage!
Former pros have described this climb in Spain's Grand Tour as 'inhumane', 'bloody' and 'barbaric.' The fastest time recorded was in 2000, by Roberto Heras, with an amazing speed of 18,3 km/hour and a time of 41:55.
So, how close to Heras can you get?
Valdepeñas de Jaén: Experience the Spanish countryside
You are going to explore the true Spanish countryside on this hilly, landlocked course, covering the last 23 kms of the 2021 La Vuelta Stage 11. The greatest challenge will certainly be the slope of the mighty Valdepeñas de Jaén mountain that features a 2nd category climb to conquer. The challenge is well rewarded though. The start of the climb offers an eye-pleasing ride through plentiful olive groves that are later replaced with open views of dry and hot pastureland, typical of southern Spain’s mainland.
Reaching the end of the course, you can picture Primoz Roglic snatching the victory away from Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education Nippo), inside the last 500 m of the 2021 La Vuelta Stage 11!
If you like the routes, make sure you save them to your ‘favorites’ to ride them later and also, don’t forget to register for La Vuelta Virtual Grand 10 to enjoy the atmosphere of the Grand Tour!