In the 2011 Vuelta a España, this was the story on the Angliru:
On the maximum slopes it was game over for Martin, Bruseghin and Sastre, the cue for Cobo to jump across to lone leader Anton and leave him flailing with six kilometres remaining, getting into the same rhythm that saw him take second on yesterday’s stage and sit in the top 10 overall.
Positioned perfectly in the group behind Cobo, Wiggins had Froome for company, with Menchov, Katusha’s Joaquin Rodriguez and Pouls sitting on for the ride, the Team Sky men riding themselves closer to overall victory as the kilometres dragged by.
Despite the torturous gradient, Cobo continued his scything run to the finish and had 40 seconds over Wiggins’ group, which had shed Rodriguez in pursuit of the lone Spaniard. Hitting the Cueña les Cabres section – with a maximum gradient of 23.5 per cent and three kilometres until the finish – the Geox-TMC man was riding towards the overall leadership.
The weapon of choice was low numbers not commonly seen:
Juanjo Cobo (Geox-TMC) was one of the few GC riders who rode 34×32 (a 28.3-inch gear) up the steep grades, which topped 24 percent on some ramps.
Most of the other GC favorites rode tougher gearing that later did not give them the same pedal speed that Cobo was able to generate on the steepest ramps.
“We chose those gear ratios because we knew that the ramps were so steep it was important to be able to keep a high cadence,” said Geox-TMC sport director Matxin Fernández. “You could see that Cobo was more agile on the pedals and I believe that made a difference.”
A preview of bikes before the start of Sunday’s stage revealed the following selections among some of the GC contenders: Nibali 34×29 (31.2-inch); Kessiakoff 34×28 (32.3-inch); Fuglsang and Mollema, both 36×28 (34.2-inch).
Team Sky’s Chris Froome said Monday that in hindsight he would have changed his gear ratio to something easier than his 38×32 (31.6-inch).
Makes the 39×27 I currently employ seem downright inadequate (yeah, I end in the 27 from time to time).
Where did this monster come from:
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 and Monte Zoncolan 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”
Jiménez in ’99. His chase down of Tonkov is epic. Watch as he catches the Mapei follow car at 3:12. He knows he had it now. El Chava was a baller.
And this was the action last year, in two parts. The weather was better. But the hill remains a brute.
Vuelta a España 2011: Alto de L’Angliru (Part 1 of 2).
Vuelta a España 2011: Alto de L’Angliru (Part 2 of 2).by