A hundred meters from the beach of Ézaro, where the Galician coast at its best, there is an ominous sign with the red warning triangle: thirty percent (30%) warns the board, then you directly ride against uphill over a huge rock.
A percentage that never before in the bike race had to be overcome. Circus or sport, ask experts themselves. “If people want to see, then we must understand that we are always a little artist,” concludes Robert Gesink of Rabobank Cycling Team.
At the start, the eye of the riders this time very different focus than usual. The gears are the talk of the day. Which cassette is good for the 1.9 km long and up to 29% (according to exact measurements) steep Mirador de Ézaro, a climb that never before in the Vuelta, and even the terrible Angliru d’Alto (23.6%) cannot match with it. Some of the other monstrous amd most feared climbs of Europe: Keutenberg (22%), Mur de Huy (inner curve 25%), Kronplatz (24%), Monte Zoncolan (22%), Wall of Montelupone (21%). Only Wall Scanuppia is steeper, a perpendicular path of 45%, which hitherto never included in a cycling race.
Rabobank chooses 39×32 gear ratio for Bauke Mollema for the first time in the history of the team, though he decides to move it to change to a 28. The same opposition that it has Gesink lie. “From this acceleration is known that the chain at extreme strength work well remains. Runs off your necklace, then you are really seen.”
Juan Manuel Garate is the rider of Rabobank chose the least resistance, a compact 36/34×28 ratio. Other competitors chose: Chris Froome 38×32, Alberto Contador 36×28, Alejandro Valverde 39×29 and Joaquim Rodríguez 39×28. “Yet you fix your way more on the foot of the climb,” continues Gesink. “Job one is to be there well positioned to sit. The profile I obviously totally in my head. Exactly halfway where the slabs lie was indeed incredibly steep.”
Even the most experienced sports director Adri van Houwelingen, has never experienced before. “But in the modern cycling I find this climb does belong.”
Gesink agrees: “I have more trouble with a cobblestone strip such as the Arenberg Forest, since the factor luck plays a much bigger role. If you look at the differences, then climb it reflects the relationships we have in the preceding days in this Vuelta saw.”
As expected, Joaquim Rodriguez and Alberto Contador were again the best from the feet. In the last three hundred meters drove the most explosive climber moment, “Purito ‘yet away from Contador and remembered seven seconds to grab. Gesink had besides these two Spaniards only for themselves let Valverde. “At three hundred meters I wanted a sprint to turn his wheel. Where you can normally three hundred meters sprint, I fell silent now after 150 meters. I was completely capped. This indicates the difficulty of the climb. That I Froome finite, is a moral boost.”