Alto de L'Angliru

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The Angliru seen from the Monsacro peak.

Alto del Angliru (alternative name: La Gamonal) is a steep mountain road in Asturias, near La Vega-Riosa, in northern Spain. It is one of the most demanding climbs in professional road bicycle racing. It has been used in the Vuelta a España stage race.

Origins[edit]

The organizers of the Vuelta a España wanted a mountain to rival the Alpe d'Huez and Mont Ventoux in the Tour de France and the Mortirolo Pass in the Giro d'Italia, which would go on in 2003 to add one of the world's most demanding climbs, the Zoncolan, in an attempt to compete with the new Spanish climb. The Angliru was first included in 1999, on stage eight from León. José Maria Jiménez won after catching Pavel Tonkov a kilometer from the finish. He dedicated the win to Marco Pantani, disqualified from that year's Giro d'Italia, saying: "I dedicate it to Pantani by everything that he has suffered in this time".[1]

Details[edit]

The top of the climb is 1,573 metres (5,161 ft) above sea level. The height difference is 1,266 m (4,154 ft). The climb is 12.5 kilometres (7.8 mi) long, an average of 10.13%. It is near 24% at its steepest. The first 5 km (3.1 mi) are an average of 7.6%— stiff but not over-demanding for world-class cyclists. The sixth kilometre lessens to 2.1% and has a short descent. The last half of the climb is more severe. From six kilometres to the summit, it averages 13.1%. The steepest part, the Cueña les Cabres at 23.6%, is 3 km (1.9 mi) from the summit. There are two later ramps at 18% to 21% (sources vary).

Controversy[edit]

During stage 15 in 2002, riders climbed the Angliru in rain. Team cars stalled on the steepest part, some unable to restart because their tires slipped on messages painted by fans.[2] Riders were caught behind them and others had to ride with flat tires because mechanics could not reach them. David Millar crashed three times[3] and protested by handing in his race number a metre from the line. The judges ruled he had not finished the stage and he left the race.[4][5] He regretted his temper - he had been ninth - and apologised to his team.[2]

Opinions[edit]

The manager of the Kelme team, Vicente Belda, said: What do they want? Blood? They ask us to stay clean and avoid doping and then they make the riders tackle this kind of barbarity.[2] Patrice Halgand, a French rider, said the Union Cycliste Internationale had rules about the distance and frequency of races but not about hills. He said:

[The rules] haven't foreseen everything. The proof. I find it ridiculous to go looking for a hill on a narrow road, dangerous and winding, because it's not like that that you change the way a race develops [Ce n'est pas cela qui va changer les données de la course]. There are other cols than the Angliru to climb in the Vuelta. Differences in the riders would show just as well on a pass that's less steep and on a wider road. It would also be better for spectacle, because on the Angliru the guys go too pitifully for the climb to have any sporting interest. Even the winner goes up in slow motion. There's no attacking. From front to rear, everyone just gets up as best he can.[6]

The former climber Charly Mottet approved the climb. He said:

I saw the climb of the Angliru and I thought it was good for cycling. I watched on television and saw a superb race. I am for these difficulties out of the normal, these extreme gradients. The steepness doesn't shock me because there is always a solution in choosing the right gears. The organiser should give an idea of what's needed in the race bible. I would see it, as a former rider (and organiser of the Dauphiné Libéré) as my duty.[6]

Stage winners & Times[edit]

Winners of Angliru stage
Year Rider
1999  José Maria Jiménez (ESP)
2000  Gilberto Simoni (ITA)
2002  Roberto Heras (ESP)
2008  Alberto Contador (ESP)
2011  Juan José Cobo (ESP)
2013  Kenny Elissonde (FRA)
Fastest Ascents of the Angliru [7]
Rank Year Ascent Time Speed Rider
1 2000 41:55 18.32 km/h  Roberto Heras (ESP)
2 2013 43:07 17.81 km/h  Chris Horner (USA)
3 2008 43:12 17.78 km/h  Alberto Contador (ESP)
4 2000 43:24 17.70 km/h  Pavel Tonkov (RUS)
5 2000 43:24 17.70 km/h  Roberto Laiseka (ESP)
6 2013 43:35 17.62 km/h  Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
7 2013 43:35 17.62 km/h  Vincenzo Nibali (ITA)
8 2008 43:54 17.49 km/h  Alejandro Valverde (ESP)
9 2002 43:55 17.49 km/h  Roberto Heras (ESP)
10 2011 43:57 17.47 km/h  Juan Jose Cobo (ESP)
11 2008 44:10 17.39 km/h  Joaquim Rodriguez (ESP)
12 2000 44:13 17.37 km/h  Raimondas Rumšas (LIT)
13 2008 44:17 17.34 km/h  Levi Leipheimer (USA)

† Juan Jose Cobo is alternately recorded as having a time of 43:53, Roberto Heras is alternately recorded as having a time of 43:57 [8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vuelta a Espana, Grand Tour
  2. ^ a b c Procycling, UK, November 2003
  3. ^ Procycling, UK, November 2002
  4. ^ No way back for Millar
  5. ^ Epica y polémica (Spanish)
  6. ^ a b Vélo, France, November 2002
  7. ^ http://climbing-records.blogspot.ro/2013/09/new-angliru-top-50-champions-set-great.html New Angliru TOP 50: The champions set great performances in 2013
  8. ^ http://www.fillarifoorumi.fi/forum/showthread.php?38129-Ammattilaispy%F6r%E4ilij%F6iden-nousutietoja-%28aika-km-h-VAM-W-W-kg-etc-%29&p=2098160#post2098160 50 Fastest Ascents of the Angliru - Updated September 2013

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°13′17″N 5°56′33″W / 43.221477°N 5.942410°W / 43.221477; -5.942410