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Vuelta a España Stage 17: The Pain in Spain Remains Insane

Jaime Reina, AFP/Getty

Stage 17: Castellon — Llucena/ Camins del Penyagolosa 177.5KM

What's It About?

What else? Climbing.

ChrisF's Dirt and Rock Pairings

Where we never take things for granite.

The final part of the stage includes the ascent to the peak of Mas de la Costa. At the foot of this peak is a precipice of over 500 metres; this peak, standing 980 metres above sea level, is only 33 kilometres from the coast. It is one of the characteristics of the Spanish Mediterranean Coast: the alpine mountain ranges connect from the Pyrenees through to Almeria and then onto Cadiz as proof of the rapprochement between Africa and Europe.

Africa.. always causing trouble. Anyway...

Course Features

De map:

Stage 17 map vuelta

The shortest distance between two points is... not fun enough. Let's see what all that circuitry is about.

stage 17 profile vuelta

Ho ho! It's got a little kick to it, eh? I wonder what that climb at the end is really like?

camins del penyagolosa

Mother of effing god... That's a four-km sprint to perdition. Well, except for that 7.5% false flat, but it apparently doesn't last long. This reminds me of that old joke about the old ladies at a Catskills resort. One of them says "the food here is terrible!" And another replies "yeah, and such small portions!" That's essentially how I view the Vuelta.

Whom Does it Favor

I've wondered often enough whether gradients like this suit anyone, anywhere, and I guess the answer is... sure. The strongest guy wins. Provided he really doesn't weigh very much. Geniez took the first Devil's Tooth stage, with Froome slipping by Quintana briefly. Then Quintana struck back at La Camperona. And the two rode in together at Pena Cabarga. If there were any specialists in short, steep climbs here, they might be able to interrupt the script, but for now it's safe to assume that the top five GC guys, plus Simon Yates, are the ones to watch.

But it's also a long-ish stage with two major events happening a bit later in the week, so if Los Bigs want to let a harmless break go away for good, more power to them.

Pick to Win

For the stage... a non-obvious breakaway person. Um... Darwin Atapuma! Or Andrey Zeits. Coin flip.