The Lapas is customary, he discovers every year new corners, high-quality that they acquire more relevance with passing the race. One of them will take place on the streets of Murcia this year Caravaca de la Cruz. It’s not a city that doesn’t know the race, since it took part in it in the not too distant past, but what’s new is its end. It will be in a port that Pass of Caravaca de la Cruz. in other times, It was a arrival for sprinters… and with this unprecedented result for climbers too will be this time protagonists.
to be in Murcia AS had the most famous venue to recognize the port: Alejandro Valverde. The one in Las Lumbreras, a town 80km from Caravaca, was unaware of the climb as it is a bit outside of its usual route area. He completed his training like every morning, but this time he changed the route. He drove to Mula with two group mates, they parked there and the training started towards Caravaca. The ascent begins in the village and after a left turn at a gas station. El Bala previously viewed the profile. Everything ready. In town, with some locals looking at Valverde with an incredulous face, but also with some cheering when they realized it was him, began the recognition of ascension, which has just been paved to reach La Vuelta in the best conditions.
That was no handicap for a broker who has won almost everything he can get his hands on for two decades. The port is placed in the second category (8.2 km at 5.5%), but this distinction should not lead to the assumption that it is more ‘affordable’. The average percentage goes down because there are several short descents on the climb. “It surprised me! I found it less challenging due to the average bumps, but that’s okay. This is due to the various breaks that exist, but the surge doesn’t really go off 9, 10, 12, 13%… it’s a demanding surge that does damage., analyze once the port is ready, over a coffee with saccharin and a toast of fresh grilled cheese. The stage, the ninth of this edition, takes place on September 3, a Sunday. just before the first rest day. It will serve to complete the first third of the race.
“It’s a climb that will start quickly with some challenging first ramps. The pace will be strong and the leaders will start about three kilometers from the finish.” adds Valverde, in his first year as a retired runner. “In this part of the stage, the people in front will be the social climbers. Today, the last companions still with their leaders may be leaders in other races. It’s an unprotected area, but I don’t know if the wind will affect it much. It twisted my ass. I estimate the ascent will take between 20 and 22 minutes and should be tested in the 20 percent range. Then there’s a break so you don’t have to take anything away from you, and then the last part up to the finish line,” Alejandro introduces himself.
A climb that you already know after this report and he will certainly explain that at length at Movistar, his team with which he is still linked. “Yes, I will tell you some details because it caught my attention. There are some downhill turns where you have to be careful as they are technical and bumpy. I think they will be able to move around 390-400 watts. “It’s an explosive haven for a climber who accepts changes in pace because there are descents, ascents, descents… it’s breathtaking and very beautiful,” adds the 2009 Spanish Round winner. with 12 stages to his credit. Valverde himself, who doesn’t rule out a return to that promotion in the future, predicts an outcome: “It is difficult for the winner to arrive alone. I would say a small group of five to six riders. Roglic, Vingegaard, Ayuso, our Enric Mas… they all do well. It reminds me of Mas de la Costa (2019) where I won.” And who knows if I would fight today.
The destination of this mountainous journey of La Vuelta will be a heliport. In this way, the runners reach the finish line after a right turn. A small piece of land with space for a helicopter in a new curve that will make La Vuelta more visible after this year’s stage. Valverde crowned himself at this point after a climb in which he climbed overlooking the area… and at a high level as he continues his training rhythm from his pro days: “It’s going to be a stage that won’t disappoint you,” says El Bala.