Vuelta Travelogue - Quintessential Spain
Stage 18, September 15th,
Avila to Avila, 197.5 Km
The Final Mountains
Stage 18 starts and finishes in Avila . It will be the last real chance for the climbers with one Category 1 climb, three Category 2 climbs and one Category 3. Most cycling fans will immediately recognize Avila and its famous city walls from Graham Watson's photography. Avila itself can be traced back to Celtic times and a settlement dated at 700 B.C. Romans built the first wall at Avila in the third century B.C. The remaining structure is one of the best-kept medieval walled enclosures in Europe . Almost 2,500 crenellations, a hundred towers, six gates and three openings mark its 2.5-kilometer perimeter. Built between 1088 and 1091, the walls and the city within provide a key to understanding Spain and the stern military might and intense religious struggles that pervaded Europe during the Middle Ages.
A familiar sight to Vuelta fans, the walled city of Avila. ( Image © Unipublic )
The stage was aggressive from the start with a 16 rider breakaway escaping at the 16 km mark. Into the closing kilometers the hard chase was catching thenow 11 rider and fading breakaway.
The breakaway ( Image © Unipublic )
Over the final climb of the day Comunidad Valenciana's Javier Pascual Rodriguez attacked the breakaway. Nicki Sorensen (CSC) was the first to catch Rodriguez with Jose Vicente Garcia Acosta (Illes Balears) close behind.
Garcia Acosta's chase ( Image © Unipublic )
Just past the 2 km to go banner Acosta caught and attacked Sorensen and Rodriguez. The move was quickly countered by Sorensen and with a blast of speed crossed the finish line for the stage win. The aggressive Javier Pascual Rodriguez finished second, Acosta third.
An emotional stage winner ( Image © Unipublic )
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