“Age and treachery
will overcome youth and skill.”
Fausto Coppi, Italian
"Champion of Champions"

  September 2005



Lagos de Covedinga

Laiseka inspires Basque fans

Vuelta a Espana 05 (Click to enlarge)


Vuelta Travelogue - Quintessential Spain

La Vuelta a Espana: A Grand Tour [Part 5]

Picos de Europa

From Burgos we experience another very different Spain as the race heads north into the Cantabria region. In this area the limestone massif rises close to the Atlantic coast with harsh and exposed peaks with deep and calm valleys. The finest parts of the range are protected by the Picos de Europa National Park. For tourists and cyclists the weather can be a challenge. Half the year it either snows or rains; mist can linger for weeks.

Stage 13 enters the region through flat Cantabrian valleys then halfway takes in a Cat 1 climb before a very challenging stage finish.

If not already decided, the next two days should shape the Vuelta's podium. First up is a very challenging mountain stage (Stage 14) that culminates atop the Categoría Especial Lagos de Covadonga. It is here amongst spectacular scenery that we are reminded of the race start in Granada and the link with the Moors. Back in the eighth century it was here in the Picos valley of Covadonga that the stout Asturians held out against the Moors. The story is that their leader Pelayo and his men, assisted by the Holy Cross and Virgin of Battles, trounced 20,000 Moors around 724 A.D. Pelayo became king and the Christian Reconquest or reconquista began (it finally succeeded in Granada in 1492).

Riding across to the Asturias Mountains, the race next heads for another Categoría Especial finish Stage 15 at the ski station of Valgrande/Pajares. This brutal stage in particular is expected to take on epic proportions.


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