Vuela a España 2012, Stage 3 profile
Today’s stage, ending in the iconic Basque climb of Arrate, introduces the mountains as a factor much earlier than is customary for a grand tour. There are four categorized climbs:
Km 32.3 – Alto La Aldea (2nd category)
Km 66.6 – Puerto de Vitoria (3rd category)
Km 120.2 – Puerto de Campazar (3rd category)
Km 155.3 – Alto de Arrate (1st category)
Two sprint contests arrive late in the stage. The first, at Km 135.2 (Zaldibar) is slightly uphill. The second is in Eibar, 11.3 kilometers from the finsih, just a few kilometers from the beginning of the final climb.
The stage is expected to last about 4 hours.
The appearance of Arrate in any parcours promises fireworks. Alberto Contador has already won there, during the Vuelta al País Vasco in 2009. Earlier this year, Samuel Sánchez – the Asturian hero of the Basque Euskaltel team – took his third consecutive victory on Arrate en route to winning the País Vasco overall title for the first time in his career.
Noteworthy points along the route are the Santuario de la Virgen de Dorleta (Km 97), the patron saint of cyclists and Spain’s counterpart to the chapel of the Madonna del Ghisallo in Italy. There is also a shrine to the Virgen de Arrate near the finish line. There are interesting stories and legends associated with both places.
Atlas index to Vuelta a España stages: