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Vuelta a España 2023 Vuelta a España route rumours

Page 9 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Considering Roglič is doing Giro-Vuelta double in 2023. Giro slightly tilted toward ITT and Vuelta being massive on climbing.

Time to make history.

Good job Vuelta on producing a proper GT. I expect GC action from early on and right till the end. Due to teams usually being slightly weaker on Vuelta. Individual quality should shine. Said that. Hopefully we will get Kuss back.

Looking forward to Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and what looks like it will be a great pro road cycling season as a whole. A bit less enthusiastic about Tour this year. Still the battle in between Pogi and Jonas (vs. the rest) should deliver.
 
Stage 20, especially this late in the race, could be carnage. But it could also be a dud. Riders like Carapaz, Evenepoel or Pogacar in case they are on the startlist and need to avance in GC, could turn this into guerilla warfare. But in absence of such riders, i don't see riders as Carthy or Bardet fire up the race 100k to go succesfully and this could turn into a snoozefest.
Of course it's a risk, but a high mountain stage as the final (non-TT) GC day can equally turn into a snoozefest if the GC situation is unfavourable. The Tour in particular has had some bad examples in this regard, both on good (Morzine 2016, La Roche-sur-Foron 2020) and bad (Izoard 2017, the weather-altered Val Thorens 2019) designs. However, the Vuelta usually has decent-to-excellent racing on stage 20 no matter the terrain, last year's race was the first exception to that rule in a long time.
 
Of course it's a risk, but a high mountain stage as the final (non-TT) GC day can equally turn into a snoozefest if the GC situation is unfavourable. The Tour in particular has had some bad examples in this regard, both on good (Morzine 2016, La Roche-sur-Foron 2020) and bad (Izoard 2017, the weather-altered Val Thorens 2019) designs. However, the Vuelta usually has decent-to-excellent racing on stage 20 no matter the terrain, last year's race was the first exception to that rule in a long time.
I didn't say it's a bad thing. Just that it has the potential to be superb, but also a boring breakaway stage. The possible rewards are much larger than the other way around.
 
Santa María de la Alameda:
santamariadelaalamedaporriocofioperfil.jpg
That's the climb from the NW coming from Navas del Marqués. The video shows on the map they're climbing from the South, so they'll do the side in the profile below from the station and take the turn to Robledondo at 5km from the start. The Vuelta profile shows an elevation of 1317m for that KOM, which is close to the profile numbers.

318840_504903092868399_370761940_n.jpg


I'm sorry this takes away any km above 6% before the last climb.
 
We can go cry about Unipuerto but that's just Vuelta gonna Vuelta, but the big mountain stages deliver and stage 20 is *** awesome.

  • Stage 1 I wish was an ITT
  • Barcelona is fine
  • Arinsal is very good for a stage 3
  • Stage 4-5 worthless flat stages but 2 and 3 are good
  • Jalavambre is a decent pick for Unipuerto
  • 7 is WFS
  • Xorret de Cati is fine for a stage 8 like stage
  • Stage 9 is very underwhelming for the end of week 1, but it's not like the 1st week overall is weak
  • Stage 10 is the main problem - with this route it should be 40km at least. Probably more like 45.
  • Laguna Negra is very mid at this stage in the race. I don't mind 1 or maybe 2 earliesh on but this is turning into too many.
  • 12 is WFS
  • Didn't like cutting Portalet, but adding Spandelles is a bery, bery nice sorpresa, especially with the day that comes after Tourmalet
  • Larra Belagua is a great design. Literally the best 1-2 stage combo I remember in the Vuelta
  • Stage 15 is weak. I don't think cutting Aralar is a disaster, but that clibm looks to be under 5% average and that's not gonna get it done
  • Bejes is like the 2nd weak Unipuerto too many. At least it's not a sprint
  • Angliru is Angliru. Doesn't really matter what you do with it., unless you go to really insulting stage distance. The important part of Angliru is to put it before the other mountain stage
  • Stage 18 is not some Giro style tappone but it's good enough here considering attacking the first time up Cruz Linares should be pretty viable at this stage of the race
  • Stage 19 is WFS unless wind
  • Stage 20 is ballsy. I love it. And I love it a lot more than say stage 20 of the Tour where it's just a very mid Cat1/Cat1 combo
7/10 for me and it coudla been an 8 for me if the ITT was longer or if the TTT was an ITT.

Don't let toby read this

I am not sure if this was the moment that the forum died, or was born again.
 
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I'm pretty satisfied with this route. Given the potential in Spain compared to France and especially Italy, this is probably the best GT route in 2023.
  • The Andorra stage is good for an early mountain stage. Although is is the most obvious stage to make minor adjustments and make it better. By using Beixalis and not Ordino.
  • Javalambre was great when used the first time. And this time it's also used as it should be; as an early mountain stage.
  • Stage 13 and 14 is great. Can't remember I've ever seen two that tough consecutive mountain stages in the Vuelta. Also great that they have a brutal stage in French Basque country. The closest I've ever was the 2003 in the Tour where Tyler H won and the Pierre-Saint-Martin MTF in 2015.
  • Not that a big fan of Angliru, but as always it will create gaps. And the same applies to the Cruz de Linares stage, especially since it comes the day after Angliru.
  • And stage 20 is really exciting. It could go either way, but at least they are doing something a bit innovative.
Otherwise it is positive that we see stages in Catalunya again. It hasn't been ideal that a that significant part of the country has been ignored. Just hope that the could somehow solve some of the other regional quarrel. Which is limiting for using climbs like Ancares, Picon Blanco, etc.
 
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Otherwise it is positive that we see stages in Catalunya again. It hasn't been ideal that a that significant part of the country has been ignored. Just hope that the could somehow solve some of the other regional quarrel. Which is limiting for using climbs like Ancares, Picon Blanco, etc.
In this edition we can add Laguna Negra and Santa Maria de la Alameda to the list of climbs poorly used because they're too close to their region's borders.
 
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Positives:
  • The main mountain stages are very good overall. Not a fan of Angliru (and it's also the second pointlessly short mountain stage in a row after Bejes), but double Cruz de Linares is perfectly fine as a final high mountain stage and the main Pyrenean block is one of the best sets of back-to-back mountain stages Unipublic has ever done, if not the best.
  • Stage 20 is really cool, there are some cool walls they could have put mid-stage but a 200k sawtooth stage with TEN KOMs as the final GC day is something we've never seen before. Could come to nothing, could be a stage for the ages.
  • Order of mountain stages is consistently done well, that's a rarity
  • Mountain stages are spread almost perfectly across the three weeks. Would have liked the ITT a little later but that's a minor thing
  • Aside from the parade, every weekend stage is at least somewhat interesting, of course especially stage 14 and 20
Negatives:
  • Not enough ITT kilometres. Just changing the TTT to an ITT would have helped a lot, also because, you know, it gets rid of the TTT.
  • Ten MTFs is excessive and Unipublic realise this, hence why they've gone out of their way to minimise the impact of Laguna Negra and Bejes in particular. At that point, you should cut a couple of MTFs and throw in a hilly/mid-mountain stage if you want some potential GC action, and a breakaway day that will have a longer finale if you don't.
  • Variety is somewhat lacking as a result - no real descent finishes, only one hilly stage, only one mid-mountain stage
  • Three sprints in four days in week 1 is not ideal, although thankfully none of them are on weekends
Overall: 7.5, probably a 7 if I had to choose between a 7 or 8 though. Change the TTT to an ITT and it's a full point higher for me, then throw in a descent finish somewhere (for example, San Miguel de Aralar on stage 15, then a breakaway day finishing somewhere else in the Liébana on stage 16 to maintain the balance) and it would be a 9. Still, this is really, really good by Unipublic standards and on the whole I'm happy with this route.


I think 7,5 is a bit to high.
That's the climb from the NW coming from Navas del Marqués. The video shows on the map they're climbing from the South, so they'll do the side in the profile below from the station and take the turn to Robledondo at 5km from the start. The Vuelta profile shows an elevation of 1317m for that KOM, which is close to the profile numbers.

318840_504903092868399_370761940_n.jpg


I'm sorry this takes away any km above 6% before the last climb.


4ddfc


well, that little spike at km 159 is actually almost 2,5 km at more than 6%, so there are actually some km above 6%
 
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I think this is the first time anyone has claimed I’m overrating a GT route, let alone a Vuelta route.

hmm I was typing a whole story to give some arguments why I think 7,5 is too high. But the story became too long and decided to remove it. Apparently, I didn't remove the first sentence haha. Now I have to explain I'm afraid why I think it's to high.

the good:
-the opening 3 stages (3 different kind of stages that already give some first insights)
-the order of the stages (tourmalet before larrau stage/ angliru before Linares stage)
-2 great mountain stages, that are really well designed (Larrau stage and Linares stage)
-interesting experiment for stage 20

VS

the bad:
-some superfluous use of __ / stages again. As if there are no other options. I would have preferred to have a hilly/murito stage, or a medium mountain, or a descending finish, or even more out of the box, find some equivalent for giro's strade bianchi or tours cobble stones. Or just add an extra sprint stage and spice up the stage of one of the other _/ stages.
-only 25 km of ITT
-the Tourmalet stage is difficult and better than expected, but still it's all about the final climb. (The good thing is the combo with the next stage). And it's already overused in the tour itself.

So, all in all, I just think a 7,5 is just all little bit to high. But, I agree, for Vuelta standards we get some really great stages presented. I think it's my personal dislike of the endless flow of new unipuerto stages, that makes me think 7,5 is too high.
 
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Plus:
  • Stage 20 is an interesting idea, even though the previous climbs before the last one might be too easy. I like it though.
  • Larrau-Belagua is a very nice stage, maybe one more climb early on the stage could have been better. And I like the pacing of it coming after Aubisque-Spandelles-Tourmalet as well.
  • Arinsal at stage 3.
  • Using Cruz de Linares
Minus:
  • Only 25 km of ITT ( A major minus. )
  • Stage to Lekunberri not having San Miguel de Aralar.
  • The stage to Laguna Negra not having any climbs before
  • The unipuerto stages to Bejes and also Caravaca de la Cruz.
  • Using Cruz de Linares as a MTF
Which side are they taking Montjuic from? If it's similar to 2012 that is a plus.
 
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hmm I was typing a whole story to give some arguments why I think 7,5 is too high. But the story became too long and decided to remove it. Apparently, I didn't remove the first sentence haha. Now I have to explain I'm afraid why I think it's to high.

the good:
-the opening 3 stages (3 different kind of stages that already give some first insights)
-the order of the stages (tourmalet before larrau stage/ angliru before Linares stage)
-2 great mountain stages, that are really well designed (Larrau stage and Linares stage)
-interesting experiment for stage 20

VS

the bad:
-some superfluous use of / stages again. As if there are no other options. I would have preferred to have a hilly/murito stage, or a medium mountain, or a descending finish, or even more out of the box, find some equivalent for giro's strade bianchi or tours cobble stones. Or just add an extra sprint stage and spice up the stage of one of the other _/ stages.
-only 25 km of ITT
-the Tourmalet stage is difficult and better than expected, but still it's all about the final climb. (The good thing is the combo with the next stage). And it's already overused in the tour itself.

So, all in all, I just think a 7,5 is just all little bit to high. But, I agree, for Vuelta standards we get some really great stages presented. I think it's my personal dislike of the endless flow of new unipuerto stages, that makes me think 7,5 is too high.
Spain actually has lots of good options for sterrato stages, between PRC and the Race Design Thread on here a lot of those have been explored too. In terms of stuff that would have fit into this route, mysterrato race for the RDC could have been adapted into an awesome stage to replace the Lekunberri stage:
Clásica de Navarra/Nafarroako Klasikoa
Category: 1.Pro
Distance: 175.9 km

Profile
FqSpOp3.png


Map
YKLXXaH.png


Unpaved sectors
NumberSectorLengthKmKm to go
1​
Zolina-Mutilva (1st passage)
3,2​
17,6​
158,2​
2​
Sarriguren-Olaz
0,6​
22,1​
153,7​
3​
Ibiriku-Pasandiburu
3,7​
31,3​
144,5​
4​
Ustárroz
0,3​
32​
143,8​
5​
Biurrun (1st passage)
1,5​
64,9​
110,9​
6​
Muruzábal
2,2​
75,4​
100,4​
7​
Maldartea-Mendigorria
8,3​
91,3​
84,5​
8​
La Grisuela-Kaskiturria
9,8​
104,9​
70,9​
9​
Duiderra-Artajona
7,8​
115,5​
60,3​
10​
Altos de Karikadoia
4,1​
122,7​
53,1​
11​
Presa de Artajona-Añorbe
4,1​
130,7​
45,1​
12​
Biurrun (2nd passage)
1,5​
141,6​
34,2​
13​
Campanas-Beriáin
4,0​
151,1​
24,7​
14​
Noáin-Tajonar/Taxoare
1,5​
164​
11,8​
15​
Zolina-Mutilva (2nd passage)
3,2​
169,5​
6,3​

Link to the route

The Spanish (and Basque) calendar ends very early compared to the other big cycling countries, let's fix that. Navarra currently only has the one men's race at the professional level, the GP Indurain, although the women do travel here for the double-header of Nafarroako Klasikoa and Clásica de Navarra, which were raced last weekend. This race has little in common with any of those races, although it does share two climbs with the latter.

The other thing the late-season calendar is missing is opportunities for the more Flandrien-esque riders. Sure, the WC usually suits them to some extent, but after that, there's only the abomination that is the current version of Paris-Tours. Now I could have gone for a cobbled race, but this would feel a bit out of place in the late season, so a sterrato race was a must for me. This race features no less than 55.9 kilometres on unpaved roads, and unlike Paris-Tours these shouldn't oversized rocks as far as I can tell.

We start from Villava, or Atarrabia in Basque. A village that has been swallowed by the expansion of Pamplona, its only true claim to fame is being the birthplace of Miguel Indurain. I don't think I need to bother with a biography here, but it would certainly have been a crime not to pay homage to the greatest rider Navarra has ever known and probably will ever know in a race through the area.

The neutralisation takes us to the edge of the Pamplona conurbation, where we embark on a loop over the little climb to Ardanaz de Egüés. On the way back, we reach the first sector of the day, Zolina-Mutilva. At 3.2 kilometres, it's far from the longest of the day, but it features a decent uphill in its first part. It backs directly into the Muro de Badostain, a short, but steep hill frequented by races passing through the area. As far as I can tell, its last inclusion in a professional race was in the second stage of the 2019 Itzulia.

MfRhd08.png


From here, we follow some of the roads used by that stage, first through the short sector of Sarriguren-Olaz, then onto the uphill ramp into Gorraiz where that stage finished, and finally down two more sectors: Ibiriku-Pasandiburu, which contains the climb to Bordazar, and Ustárroz, the shortest of the day. These sectors didn't really have the desired effect in that Itzulia stage and Julian Alaphilippe ended up winning from an uphill sprint, but here we will be heading to much harder terrain. Not immediately, though, as it takes almost 30 kilometres from here to reach the next obstacle, the Muro de Tiebas, one of the two climbs this race shares with the Clásica de Navarra.

Edq71pYXoAArofz


From here, it's only a short distance to the fifth sector of the day, the short and flattish Biurrun. The next sector, Muruzábal, is harder in both aspects, but not by too much. It is followed by the very short, but steep Muro de Obanos. Just after this, we pass through Puente la Reina, named after the eponymous 11th-century bridge. The bridge, in turn, was named after queen Muniadona, the wife of the king of Navarre at the time, who (supposedly) had the bridge built here, at the convergence of the French and Aragonese routes, for pilgrims on their way to Santiago.

Puente_la_reina.jpg


The passage through Puente la Reina, just before the midway point, also marks the moment where the going becomes much harder, as the next three sectors are the longest of the race. We start with the hilliest of the three, Maldartea-Mendigorria, from where there's still a short climb on asphalt to reach the latter village. There is almost no respite after this, as the longest sector, La Grisuela-Kaskiturria, follows almost immediately, and there's a similarly-short distance from here to the start of the next sector, Duiderra-Artajona. At the end of the latter, there are 70 kilometres left to race.

In Artajona, we reach the second and final climb shared with the Clásica de Navarra, Muro de Artajona.

Edq8PARX0AA7uAF


There's just one surprise... it's cobbled. Here's an impression from the 2020 edition of the Clásica de Navarra.


The climb ends at the walls of the fortress of Artajona, dating back to the late 11th century. The area is also known for its dolmens.

Muralles_d%27Artajona_%28Navarra%29_-_panoramio.jpg


Moving back to the racing, there's an easy descent, a brief flat, then the most treacherous sector of the day starts. Altos de Karikadoia may only be 4.1 kilometres in length, but it contains both the hardest climb and the steepest descent out of any sector. After returning to the tarmac, there's a steady climb to Corraliza de Altakaio, which I've included in the profile.

4ocvxmK.png


After a short flat section alongside the reservoir, we enter the next sector, the rolling Embalse de Artajona-Añorbe. It is followed immediately by the hardest climb of the day to Portillo del Monte. We still have 43.8 kilometres to go from here, but a big selection should have been made by this point, as the rest of the race is less hard.

ryNqCuy.png


That isn't to say that there are no more difficult points, though. First, we return to the sector of Biurrun, this time continuing through the village onto the Muro de Biurrun, from its easier side which is descended in the Clásica de Navarra but featuring some good ramps nonetheless.

1RqKwdf.png


The next sector, Campanas-Beriáin, is the longest remaining one, at 4 kilometres in length, but relatively flat. From here, we are forced to detour a bit because passable motorway under- and overpasses are few and far between, but eventually we reach the short climb to Alto de Noáin. The last 50 metres are shared with the penultimate sector, Noáin-Tajonar/Taxoare, just 1.5 kilometres in length. While the rest of the sector is mostly downhill and in good state, these 50 metres are badly eroded, the easiest solution may be to just pave this brief section.

LZgTFt2.png


From here, we return once more to the duet of the final sector of Zolina-Mutilva and Muro de Badostain. The latter comes at just 5.4 kilometres to go. This final stretch into Pamplona/Iruña is rolling, but mostly on wide roads. We finish outside the Plaza de Toros.

Pamplona originated in the 1st century BC, but rose to prominence in the Middle Ages, when it became the seat of the Basque-speaking Kingdom of Navarre, which was formally established in the early 9th century. Originally under Cordoban influence, it reached its peak under the reign of Sancho the Great - husband to the aforementioned Muniadona - when it controlled large parts of what is now Northern Spain. It was divided after his death and never reached those heights again, with both France and Aragon ruling it from time to time. Eventually, in the early 16th century, the part south of the Pyrenees was annexed by Aragon and then Castile, and the northern part became a part of France soon after, with both countries claiming the entirety of Navarre for some time after. Pamplona remained the capital of an autonomous Navarra until 1841; an important moment in the ending of Basque home rule in the 19th century which continues to affect the present.

Pamplona itself was not allowed to grow past the confines of its military fortress constructed upon annexation until the late 19th century; the fortress itself was partially dismantled in the First World War. This allowed for industrialisation and significant economic development Today, it is something of a transition from the Basque Country to inland Spain, both in terms of climate and linguistics, and is also very well known for its running of the bulls event.

Giza_armarria_%2840399626870%29.jpg

Central square of Pamplona.
Sadly, in real life, Unipublic will consider that kind of stage when pigs fly…

Can’t say I disagree with your criticisms by the way, but for me there’s too much good in this route to consider rating it anything lower than a 7.
 
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For Picon Blanco it is that you can't do the climbs north of that? Like De la Sia, Alisas, etc.?

And what is it again for Ancares?
Yes, the climbs that link to Picon Blanco are in Cantabria. La Sía marks the border between Cantabria and Burgos and is the start of the North side of Picón Blanco that has been used for the descent in the Vuelta a Burgos. . La Sía N is perectly doable but there would be arguments about how they split the cost between Cantabria and Burgos.
There's the gossip that Cantabria badly wanted a mountain stage fully within its borders including a MTF. Since this didn't quite fit with with Guillen's plans just before Angliru and Cruz de Linares, he just took their money and gave them the abomination of stage 16.

Ancares is at the border between Galicia and León, but the borders there do not follow any logic derived from the crest and trough lines.
They have always raced the climb from Galicia. The last 9km of what they did in 2012 are in León. The side they did in 2014 is in Galicia. The summit is close to the border but still in Galicia. Still, there's the rumour that Unipublic got some money from León in 2014. This sparked questions and a dispute that was settled by the authorities on the matter (National Geographic Institute) confirming that the road going from the 2012 finish to the summit, a narrow strip of land at its sides and the summit itself are in Galicia. But this is not the end.
The municipality of Candín, on the East side of the mountain in León, has formally requested to be renamed as Ancares, just to fully own the name, on the grounds that it is located on the valley of River Ancares and its former historical names include Ancares, Valle de Ancares and Real Valle de Ancares. As expected, their Galician neighbours want their share of the Ancares name and have complained. The matter AFAIK is still to be settled.

Hopefully the road of Alto de Abantos gets fixed so that there can be a stage to San Lorenzo de el Escorial using Abantos and the smaller climbs afterwards as the last GC stage in the future.
That's very unlikely to happen. It's a protected area. I've read fans reporting on local officials saying that if they fix the road they would not let motor vehicles in, and would never let the race through it after what they saw following the last visit in 2007. In addition to that, the road crosses a regional border twice: first at Abantos and then at Collado de la Mina.
 
Ancares is at the border between Galicia and León, but the borders there do not follow any logic derived from the crest and trough lines.
They have always raced the climb from Galicia. The last 9km of what they did in 2012 are in León. The side they did in 2014 is in Galicia. The summit is close to the border but still in Galicia. Still, there's the rumour that Unipublic got some money from León in 2014. This sparked questions and a dispute that was settled by the authorities on the matter (National Geographic Institute) confirming that the road going from the 2012 finish to the summit, a narrow strip of land at its sides and the summit itself are in Galicia. But this is not the end.
The municipality of Candín, on the East side of the mountain in León, has formally requested to be renamed as Ancares, just to fully own the name, on the grounds that it is located on the valley of River Ancares and its former historical names include Ancares, Valle de Ancares and Real Valle de Ancares. As expected, their Galician neighbours want their share of the Ancares name and have complained. The matter AFAIK is still to be settled.
Haha, what a situation. Was this the route for the last climb in 2012?

https://www.google.no/maps/dir/42.9...e14c94b6de99:0x8bcdc333a773c97d!1m0!3e1?hl=no

And they finished about in that intersection? In 2014 they did the steeper and smaller parallell road to the west and continued to the top of Ancares?
 
Btw, as I wrote above, this is the best use I've seen of French Basque country. The only times I find those climbs (except Larrau and Pierre Saint Martin) being used were in the 1986, 1987 and 2003 Tours and then only the combo of Burdincurutcheta and Bagargui. I wonder if we'll ever see a monster mountain stage in that area, like that one below. It could be more plausible for the Vuelta instead of the Tour, even if it takes place in France. It must be one of the top 3 stages/combos of climbs I want to see in a GT.

8T0F5Td.png
 
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Haha, what a situation. Was this the route for the last climb in 2012?

https://www.google.no/maps/dir/42.9...e14c94b6de99:0x8bcdc333a773c97d!1m0!3e1?hl=no

And they finished about in that intersection? In 2014 they did the steeper and smaller parallell road to the west and continued to the top of Ancares?
That's right.

Unipublic doesn't talk about it openly for obvious reasons, and they say that they design the routes they like. But they will hint in private that politicians requests and regional borders set some constraints they can't always overcome, so they are rather forced to like the routes they can design, like stage 16.

Another non-written rule is that if a region or province pays for a stage it will finish at a place where the mayor is from the same political party ruling in the region or province. There may be a few exceptions, such as a notable MTF that belongs to the village of Riosa.
 
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