Vuelta a España Vuelta a España 2022, stage 18: Trujillo - Alto de Piornal, 192.0k

The Vuelta heads into the Sistema Central for the decisive part of the race. Unfortunately, this stage is a throwback to what the race was like 20 years ago with lots of 5% tempogrinding, but with time running out the GC riders may come to play for the second easy MTF in as many days.




The first half of the stage is fairly easy, then we reach the Alto de la Desesperá. This climb features the only proper gradients of the day, so naturally it's a cat. 2 when the next two climbs are cat. 1s.


The second climb of the day is the Alto de Piornal. Why Unipublic haven't labeled it the Puerto del Piornal, the usual name for the climb, is beyond me, as the final climb has also been named Alto de Piornal, only that ascent ends in the village of Piornal rather than at the pass - needlessly confusing...


Either way, this is the profile of the second Alto de Piornal, they only do the first 13.4 kilometres. The stats are really similar to the first one. The penultimate kilometre averages 7.2%, this isn't quite Montevergine levels of low gradients but still not steep at all, of course.
 
Not in the actual stage, but the distance between the summit of Desesperá and the finish in Piornal is little over 7km, so the stage could be much more selective or give much better options for creating gaps than the real life stage.

Take for example the last 80km of this, which uses the same finish, travels over the same mountains, includes the Puerto del Piornal and moves Desesperá to only around 20km from home:
 
Fuente De, Formigal. I won't use stage 20 from Vuelta 2019 or 2015 because those analogies are reserved for the same stage 20 this year. LOL.

We have the ingredients. We just need the cook!!!
I don't know what you're talking about. Primoz is gone, there is only one cook left and it's Remco.

I'm afraid that what we will see is, like today, one or two "looking good on TV", half-hearted attacks from Mas but no más. There will be no epic GC ride.
 

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