We have reached at the long anticipated moment of La Vuelta that both fans eagerly await and riders approach with trepidation – Stage 17, the daunting Alto de l’Angliru.
Wednesday marks the pivotal stage where cyclists will confront the formidable Alto de L’Angliru, renowned as one of the most grueling climbs in the world of cycling. This demanding stage spans a challenging 124.5 kilometers, starting in Ribadesella.
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- Start location: Ribadesella/Ribeseya
- Finish location: Alto de L’Angliru
- Date: September 13
- Distance: 124.5km
- Stage type: Mountain
Jumbo-Visma’s three stars Sepp Kuss, the current leader, along with Jonas Vingegaard and Primož Roglič have consistently demonstrated their climbing prowess throughout the Vuelta. Both Roglič and Kuss have secured stage wins, with Vingegaard claiming two of his own.
They currently occupy the top three spots in the general classification standings. This dominance leaves us pondering which rider Jumbo-Visma will ultimately rally behind for Vuelta glory. Kuss, traditionally a valuable domestique, finds himself in the coveted red jersey. However, as the challenging slopes of the Angliru beckon, the stage itself may play a deciding role in this unfolding narrative.
While Jumbo-Visma’s trio of leaders dominates the Vuelta, a pack of determined riders is gearing up to challenge their supremacy. Among them is Juan Ayuso of UAE Team Emirates, who trails Kuss by a margin of 2 minutes and 33 seconds. Ayuso stands out as one of the few cyclists capable of staying on par with the Jumbo-Visma powerhouse during this year’s summit finishes.
At just 20 years old, Ayuso has made an impressive impact. His quest for a podium finish will receive valuable support from teammates Marc Soler and João Almeida, forming a formidable three pronged strategy.
Enric Mas, representing Movistar, is a rider with podium aspirations in the general classification. Currently positioned in fifth place, he hopes to capitalize on the challenging gradients of the Angliru to make significant gains in the standings.
Although he has solid climbing abilities, it’s evident that Mas faces fierce competition from the four riders ahead of him, each known for their climbing prowess. To achieve his podium ambitions, Mas will need to deliver a performance at the very pinnacle of his abilities and outshine his rivals.
Remco Evenepoel, representing Soudal–Quick-Step, may not be in contention for the general classification battle in this year’s Vuelta, but he’s undeniably making his mark with a remarkable display of strength. Having secured two stage wins already, Evenepoel’s strategic decision to deliberately lose time on the final climb of stage 16 suggests that he’s eyeing a potential third victory in this race.
This young Belgian rider may not be defending the red jersey, but he has set his sights on the mountains classification. Consequently, he’s keen to accumulate as many points as possible on these categorized climbs, showcasing his versatility and determination in this year’s Vuelta.