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The most mythical cycling stages finishing in Asturias

Asturias cycling stages are on another level.

If someone is not fascinated by the mountainous landscape of Asturias, he has no soul. And it also takes a lot of soul to conquer some of Asturias most legendary climbs that have taken place in the different editions of the Vuelta a España. There is no doubt that there is a special link between cycling and the Asturian mountains, and here are 5 mythical climbs that any pedal enthusiast would love to conquer.

And the Oscar nominees for Asturias most legendary cycling stages are…

  1. L’Angliru
  2. Gamoniteiro
  3. Lagos de Covadonga
  4. Cuitu Negru
  5. Alto del Naranco

1. L’Angliru

l'Angliru, Asturias

Before analyzing the altimeters, we want to clarify one thing: the climb to the Alto de l’Angliru is not for everyone.

It is obvious that the mythical and the epic that surround this climb, one of the most demanding in the world, is the envy of any popular cyclist. But keep in mind that its constant over 20% ramps – like the Cueña Les Cabres section – mean that even an 11×34 doesn’t make it an easy one.

If, however, you don’t want to give up, we recommend doing so by MTB. Its facilities will make the climb more bearable, and safer on the descent.

Having said that, let’s get started: the first 6 kilometers to reach the Via Para rest area can be misleading, with moderate slope sections, which, although demanding, would be a formality to what is coming. 

At no time will we descend below two digits of average slope, with several ramps exceeding 20%, to the point that facing 10 or 11% ramps will be our only “rest” to the top.

The section of Cueña del Cabrés is by far the great hell of this climb. It doesn’t matter if you get there in great shape. Many people discover the true meaning of the theory of relativity as they zigzag along this long climb with few curves and no end in sight.

Do not doubt it: if you are riding the Angliru by bike, you are really crazy.

2. Gamoniteiro

Gamoniteiro, Asturias

The climb to Gamoniteiro was created this year in the Vuelta a España 2021, in particular the 18th stage. 6.5 km with an average gradient of 9.7% from Cobertoria, the climb with which the route is usually combined. Narrow but very well preserved road, with panoramic views throughout that give us a glimpse of the majesty of Asturias, if we compare it to the climb to Angliru, it can be considered an accessible one.

A glimpse of the Gamoniteiro repeater in the distance will help us focus on our goal of reaching the top in the final kilometers.

When you arrive, in addition to the instagram photo, don’t forget to say a classic phrase like “how small we are and how big the world” or “we are just a speck of dust in this universe”.

3. Lagos de Covadonga

Lagos de Covadonga en bici, Asturias

The 17th stage of the Vuelta Ciclista a España 2021, 17ª etapa de la Vuelta Ciclista a España 2021, a distance of 186 km from Unquera to the Lagos de Covadonga in Asturias. Even if we talk about epic stages of the Vuelta a España with finish in Lagos de Covadonga, there are probably few as legendary as those of Colombian Lucho Herrera in 1987, one and a half minutes from the second one, and finally become the deserved champion of this edition.

There are many ways to visit the Lakes of Covadonga: there are those who decide to go there by car, those who prefer to take an ALSA bus or a taxi (mainly during the summer months due to access restrictions by car) or those who choose to take a walking tour. But if you have the opportunity and the will, cycling this climb is an experience to rarely forget.

We propose a 110 km route, from Cangas de Onís through charming towns such as Ribadesella, Llanes, Celorio or Porrua, with all the privileges that always involve the magic that surrounds the Picos de Europa. From Cangas, 25 kilometers to Ribadesella. There we can stop for breakfast at el Café la Villa

Once full of energy, we continue. At kilometer 52, the first climb to Alto de la Tormeria, an ascent of about 5 km with an average gradient of 7.39%. After this section the next challenge is at km 68, with another climb of 5 km with an average gradient of 5.35% and the most difficult kilometer at 6.7%.

The final monster of Lagos de Covadonga is a climb of almost 14 km with a slope of 897 m. Just at the start of the ascent, we find the majestic Sanctuary of Covadonga, unmissable and whose structure can already be guessed in the distance. Along the way, ramps between 8-10% and peaks up to 12-13%, we will remember how relaxed we were at km 25 and decided it was time to have breakfast. However, by far the worst is Huesera, with a slope of 18% and which is only suitable for the most prepared. Once we have crossed this section, we will still not be able to savor the victory, since a new section of 3 km slope will be waiting for us with a ramp that reaches 20%. The great reward is the descent between the Asturian lakes, an unmissable finish for our memory.

Along the route you will find sections in very good conditions, a pleasure to cycle from start to finish. If you would like more details on this unique cycling route, please view the altimetry of the Covadonga Lakes here

By the way, if you are obsessed with the weather before making a route, in addition to the classic forecasts, you can also see some of the webcams of the Covadonga lakes that are installed there.

4. Cuitu Negru

This mountain pass was crowned for the first time in the Vuelta a España in 2012, with an extreme finish in which the Italian Cataldo, winner of the brand new stage, seemed to be advancing in slow motion in the last 200 meters to which they must challenge ramps which far exceed 20%.

Combined with Puerto Pajares, 25 km with an average of 6.1%. Its difficulty lies in the distance in combination of the two climbs, which together make its altimetry a real challenge for any cyclist visiting Asturias.

5. Alto del Naranco

Alto del Naranco, Asturias

The alto del Naranco is the last of the Asturian climbs with the longest history of the Vuelta a España. Some spectacular victories, like that of Tony Rominger in 1993, have made history. From the city of Oviedo itself, almost 7 km with an average 5.5%.

Compared to the previous 4, the level of difficulty of this climb is much lower and the scenery is not so spectacular, but it is worth it. However, it should be noted that there will be more traffic than on the others.

Ready? By the way, don’t forget to visit our Asturian routes section. There are quite a few!

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