Stage 6: Monforte de Lemos — Luintra. Ribeira Sacra, 163.2 km
Slightly less hot, slightly less dull, slightly less sprinty. But slightly more exciting. Potentially.
What's It About?
Stage six goes through a region of Spain I didn't bother to look up, and you probably didn't either. This throws another bone to the sprinters. I hope the organisers didn't misunderstand the phrase "suffering like dogs."
ChrisF's Dirt and Rock Pairings
Where Chris never takes things for granite. I'm not quite such an expert, so occasionally I might. Email with complaints.
Galicia is part of an ancient mountain range, formed around 250300 million years ago – a collision between what is now Europe and North America formed great folds, transformed many sedimentary rocks into metamorphic ones, and gave way to the formation of large magma masses that erosion has since exposed and brought to the surface.
The first part of the stage joins Monforte de Lemos and Quiroga, localities that occupy two deep depressions filled with recent sediments, relatively flat areas where agriculture found a comfortable spot in ancient times. Between these localities, the route cuts through different types of rock several times, among these is Armorican quartzites. This quartzite stands out due to its resistance to erosion, which favours the formation of very impressive ridges in their topography.
In the second part, between Monforte de Lemos and Luintra, the route crosses the Sil Valley and enters granite landscapes. Although it does cross some mountain ranges, a large part of the stage goes through plains that are separated by large steps, often formed by large, very deep faults. Among all of these steps, the Sil River canyon stands out. A large part of the stage takes place near it, where the rock walls create a uniquely beautiful landscape.
The majority of the stage will take place on the Ribeira Sacra, between the Cabe, Sil and Miño rivers. A lot of the region's wine characteristics are due to the acidic floors that form on the metamorphic rocks and, especially, on the granites of the region.
Here's what they have to go through?
There's a few twists and turns.
The sole climb of the day, the Alto (Yes, it's an Alto) Alenza, is a little more than your standard Vuelta shenanigans, cat. 2 as it is. There's then a long, uncategorised...something. Can you call it a climb if it's uncateogrised in the Vuelta? It's word invention time! Send me a postcard...before another uncategorised launchpad ending three kilometres from the line.
Whom Does It Favor?
Remember there was some talk about the breakaway making it for stage five? Well, that was never going to happen, but on stage six, it might just be possible. There's not a lot of flat on the stage, making this ambush country. Not just that, but there's a few chances for a late move to nab the stage even if someone is motivated to pull back the inevitable fuga. But you know, sprinters are cool too.
Pick to Win
José Gonçalves. Could win in any of the three scenarios, and I m=have a minor crush on Caja Rural.