Welcome to Spain for what will be an exciting 8 days travelling with team Mitchelton-SCOTT as they tackle the famous maillot rojo (red jersey). Your GreenEDGE Travel staff will meet you at Asturias Airport, Gijon this morning to transfer you to our nearby hotel in the Asturias region.
Once settled in, your tour host and dual stage winner of La Vuelta, Stuart ‘Stuey’ O’Grady will take you on a short ride around the region where we will be located for next two nights. Asturias has a long history of cycling and has featured in the Vuelta a España almost since its inception. With its hilly terrain Asturias has produced some of the world’s best Grand Tour cyclists such as Samuel Sanchez and Chechu Rubiera.
Following our ride we will have an opportunity to meet with Mitchelton-SCOTT team including team leader Estaban Chaves and Director Sportif Matt White. This will be our first opportunity to hear about the team’s upcoming strategy for the remaining stages of La Vuelta before heading back to the hotel as a group where will get to know one another over dinner and enjoy some of Stuey’s stories from his time at the Tour of Spain.
Today’s ride: 30km easy ride through quiet roads
Alto de L’Angliru
Take the opportunity this morning to sleep and acclimatise to the remains of the Spanish summer before we head off on a late morning ride or van transfer to our Stage 13, roadside viewing point 40km into the 175km stage. We will be there to cheer on the team as they speed past. Today’s stage will be a tough one for the team with two categorised climbs including a summit finish atop Alto La Camperona.
The peloton will race past close to lunchtime but following this our riding guests will begin their challenge of the day, the mythical Alto de L’Angliru. Heralded as the ‘hardest climb in Spain’, the Angliru 12.5km long with an average gradient of a shade over 10%; however, the first 6km average only 6%, making the remaining roads inconsistent and some areas pinch up to 23.5%! Don’t worry though, Stuey and our expert guides will be your Super-domestique’s for the day with team support as well.
Our spectating guests will enjoy a stunning afternoon exploring the coastal town of Gijon before regrouping at the hotel for a well deserved rest. Dinner will be at your leisure today.
Today’s ride: Challenging 75km including Alto de L’Angliru
Lagos de Covadonga
We will check out earlier this morning and drive east where our riding guests will saddle up to test their mettle on another of Spain’s famous climbs, Lagos de Covadonga. The Covadonga will host the peloton in tomorrow’s Stage 15 summit finish but today you will have the opportunity to ride this stunning 12.3km climb at an average of 7.4% gradient. Our ride will loop around to today’s finish in La Praeres.
Our non-riding guests will take a detour to today’s Stage 14 summit finish in La Praeres to soak up the atmosphere and anticipation for the peloton’s arrival. We will all regroup at the finish and be in prime position to watch the final kms of today’s stage. As GreenEDGE Travel guests we will have access to the team bus and riders post stage.
Following the presentations we continue to our next accommodation within Los Picos de Europa for a group dinner.
Today’s ride: Challenging 80km including Lagos de Covadonga
Mirador del Fito
Following two challenging days on and off the bike, today we will take it easier and witness the peloton tackle arguably the hardest days of the 2018 Vuelta a Espana. Stage 15 boasts an accumulated inclination of over 4,000 metres. The stage ends at one of our country’s most iconic cycling finish-lines. The Lakes of Covadonga will determine which group will decide the race after climbing the Fito Viewpoint twice.
Riding guests up for another ride can take off early to ride the 50km stage loop to Mitador del Fito, a shorter 7.3km climb averaging 7.7%. Those guests looking for a day off the bike can join our spectating guests as we enjoy a later start and relaxing breakfast before driving to the Fito summit where we will enjoy a roadside picnic lunch and vino as the race comes past twice.
We will take a coastal scenic drive back to our hotel where dinner will be at your leisure.
Today’s ride: 50km course including Mitador del Fito
Dinner with team Mitchelton-SCOTT
The riders enjoy a rest today and we will take the opportunity to transfer to our next accommodation in Bilbao. En route, our riding guests will enjoy a stunning coastal ride along the Bay of Biscay towards Santillana del Mar. For those with the legs, we can also take the afternoon to ride tomorrow’s Stage 16 Time Trial course. Non-riding guests will jump ahead to this beautiful coastal town of Santander, an elegant city which extends over a wide bay with views of the Cantabrian Sea.
This region is famous for it’s part in the Camino de Santiago, a 800km pilgrimage walk to the shrine of the apostle Saint James the Great. The small villages and towns in the region host ancient buildings, beautiful cafes and food and stunning scenery.
Later this afternoon we will again catch up with Matt White and team Mitchelton-SCOTT in their team hotel. Stuey will then host you you for dinner in the same hotel as the team to talk tactics before tomorrow’s decisive ITT.
Today’s ride: choice of 40km or 70km easy coastal rolling hills and ITT course.
Time Trial Experience
In today’s Grand Tours, time trials have become decisive factors in the race for the leaders jersey. Estaban Chaves will have his work cut out for himself on today’s 32.7km rolling ITT course. Designed for power time trial specialists, today’s course could make or break the race and who better to guide us through the day’s racing than your very own time trial specialist, Stuart O’Grady.
We will take a day off the bike today as we drive to the start village in Santanilla del Mar where we will have exclusive access to team Mitchelton-SCOTT as they warm up and prepare for the stage. As a 20 year veteran of the peloton, Stuey will also walk you around to all the team buses so if you have a rider you would like to meet, please let him know.
After the first rider’s take off we will drive to our strategic vantage point along the course for a roadside picnic and prime viewing.
Following the stage, we will head to our hotel in Bilbao with time to explore the city and hopefully even have time to visit one of the world’s modern wonders, Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum. Dinner will be at your leisure this evening.
Today’s ride: REST DAY
Stage 17 will be one of Estaban’s final chances to extend his lead in an unprecedented finale. The pros must overcome over 3,000 metres of inclination, with an explosive finish-line in Mount Oiz and slopes of up to 17% and 18%.
Well rested and ready for our final challenge, we too will tackle Oiz but with a shorter lead in riding the final 50km of today’s stage. Non-riding guests will transfer to the climb for our premium roadside viewing and famous Spanish picnic lunches. The atmosphere will be electric as we await the peloton’s arrival!
Following the stage finale, Stuey will host you for our final farewell dinner in Bilbao to reminisce on the week been and share insights into the final few stages of the 2018 Vuelta.
Today’s ride: difficult final 50km of today’s stage including Monte Oiz
This morning enjoy breakfast at the hotel before checking out. Our staff will then assist you with your transfer to Bilbao airport. We trust you’ve had a wonderful experience with GreenEDGE Travel and we hope to tour with you again soon!