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Distance: 185km

Highest point: 1,850m

Category: High mountains

Third consecutive summit finish

After one of the Vuelta’s classic climbs comes the race’s latest epic
ascent, the Cuitu Negru. It’s been dubbed ‘the Asturian Bola del Mundo’
as, in common with that climb north of Madrid, it’s a short but very
steep extension to a road accessing a ski station, in this case
Valgrande Pajares. With the tough San Lorenzo and Cobertoria passes to
soften up the riders beforehand, this is rightly seen as the race’s
queen stage. The final ascent gets harder from Brañillin, 3km from the
top. The road, which is being resurfaced, then rises at an average of
13.5 per cent with pitches of 25 per cent. It’s a gruelling test suited
to pure climbers.

Igor Anton: “The queen stage. This is the third
consecutive mountain stage with a summit finish. It’s the hardest of the
race and the last 3km on the Cuitu Negru average 14 per cent, after
climbing three cat 1 passes that are as tough as any in Asturias.”

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