Saturday, August 27, 2011

UPDATE - Bestial - best word describing the finish of Vuelta stage 8 to El Escorial

Since today is the day the Vuelta peloton visits El Escorial I just want to re-post my lille preview from a couple of weeks ago. Here you go:
So…after postponing it way too long, finally I got the time to go and check out the last part of Vuelta stage 8 to El Escorial. Ouch…

Here is how it's going down - or more precisely - up:

Entering San Lorenzo we have a the stage’s last intermediate sprint and after that it starts going uphill right away. 4,5 km with some of the steepest part right away in the town before hitting Pista Forestal.

Easy-piecy climb around 4% with only one really steep corner close to the top. Biggest challenge was the road. As the picture shows “en mal estado”. Meaning they are working hard, as I’m writing, to put on new asphalt.

While the uphill section was almost done, the downhill part still needed a lot of work…The picture below pretty much sums up the current state of the road!

This wasn't even the worst part...

Anyway. It’s a pretty fast descent without any complication, only the very last part in the forest needs a few technical skills. After that it’s the M-600 freeway back to El Escorial, turning right going under the railroad and then we hit the final 2 km. City cobblestone section for around 1 km going uphill (taking out a lot of energy, bumping around on those!). Then we take a right turn and hit the first of  many steep parts in the final. After it’s flat for about 100 meters before you turn left on Calle Cañada Nueva with the finishing line in sight – high above your head! I didn't believe my eyes are first...

700 meters straight up in the sky with percentages going as high as 28% - if not more! As you all know it’s almost impossible to capture the view on a camera, especially on an iPhone, but just to give you an impression of what I’m talking about, take a look at the pictures below:

Arrows on the road practically point up in the sky...

Last part of the finish, hitting 28%! Ouch!

I can say without any doubts that this is by far the steepest I've ever done on a bike and I honestly can't see any other than Purito winning this stage if the it’s together in the final.

Get ready for a spectacular final on the 27th of August!

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