This is the consequence of no DAOTEC, but our good friends Gustavo Duncán and Asier Bilbao, who run the altimetriascolombia.blogspot.com site, have carefully put together the route of the Vuelta on tracks4bikers and added some comments, which you can read here
. Gustavo has posted a handful of times here, in the unknown climbs thread if I remember correctly, and a couple of other times on Colombian cycling. I find myself in general agreement with them - while it is good that the Vuelta is back to two weeks, it's also a real shame to see a continuation of the recent ploy to keep everything close until the end... which is of course achieved by providing a route that is designed to not open up gaps until very late on in the race, thus neutering much of the difficult terrain that we will see until the very end. Their apocalyptic opinion is that the race will come down to the last two days - the MTF at the Alto de Santa Elena and the 32km ITT on the final day - which is amazingly the only contra-relógio in the whole race (!!!), and they fear that strong teams will control this and make it a real yawnfest, which I truly hope is not to be the case.
There are some really difficult climbs in the race, don't worry - but most of them have been tragically 'Prudhommed'.
The race starts with this intermediate stage in Ecuador with the final climb 40km from the line:
The second stage, entering Colombia, follows the same format - very short stage with 1x cat.2 and 1x cat.3 climb, only this time it's 25km from the last climb to the line:
Stage 3 is super-short (under 100km) but is the first one where the GC riders will come out to play. It would be possible to finish direct from the descent, although the climb is very long it is not super steep, however at altitude and with the less controlled nature of South American racing hopefully this will be a really good stage:
Stage 4 could also see some gaps opened up, with what appears to be a bit more than a puncheur finish but not as much as a mountaintop finish - around 6km in length, it appears: