Riders prepare for brutal finishing climb on stage three of Vuelta a España
The Mirador de Ezaro may be short, but it packs a punch with some seriously steep gradients
Riders will take on a brutal finish to Monday's Vuelta a España stage three, with a ride up the Mirador de Ezaro climb in Galicia in the northwest of Spain.
At 1.8km, it might not be the longest climb on offer, but the first of the Vuelta's 10 summit finishes features some punishing gradients.
Averaging 14.6% on the way up, the climb starts off steep and hits it's maximum gradient of 28% before easing off very slightly. That won't be of much comfort though as the climb ramps back up towards the finish and will see the only the purest of climbers able to hang on to a lead.
Not only that, but the riders will have to take on a 170km course from Marin with a category three and category two climb to take on before reaching the punishing finishing ascent.
The Vuelta is no stranger to steep and brutal finishes. The Alto de l'Angliru has been used numerous time throughout the history of the race and is long and severely steep for more or less it's entirety.
While the Mirador de Ezaro doesn't quite meet those standards, rated as a third category climb, it's first use as a stage finish in 2012 saw the big names go head-to-head.
Race leader Joaquim Rodriguez won the stage that day just ahead of compatriots Alberto Contador, the race's eventual winner, and Alejandro Valverde.
Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski currently leads the Vuelta a España going into stage three, but it'll be his leader Chris Froome who'll be looking to make gains on the climb with Nairo Quintana and Valverde just behind him, and Contador a further 52 seconds back.
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Follow on Twitter: @richwindy
Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.
An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).
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