Alto de l’Angliru, also known as La Gamonal is a very steep mountain road in Asturias, near La Vega-Riosa, in northern Spain. Dubbed as the “hardest climb in the Vuelta a España“, where it is often used, the Angliru is considered one of the most demanding climbs in professional road bicycle racing.
Alto de l’Angliru climb profile
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Alto de l’Angliru was first included in the Vuelta a España in 1999. The organizers of the Spanish Grand Tour wanted a mountain to rival the Alpe d’Huez and Mont Ventoux in the Tour de France and the Mortirolo Pass in the Giro d’Italia. José Maria Jiménez won the first Angliru stage (1999, stage 8, León – Alto de l’Angliru) after catching Pavel Tonkov a kilometer from the finish. He dedicated the win to Marco Pantani, who was disqualified from that year’s Giro d’Italia, saying: “I dedicate it to Pantani by everything that he has suffered in this time”.
Giro d’Italia organizers would go on in 2003 to add one of the world’s most demanding climbs, the Monte Zoncolan, in an attempt to compete with the Alto de l’Angliru.
Riders often speak of the Angliru with a mix of respect and dread. Its steep gradients make it incredibly challenging, especially in the often unpredictable Asturian weather. Wet roads can make ascents nearly impossible due to wheelspin.
Stages that end atop the Angliru are often decisive in the Vuelta a España. The physical and mental challenge of the climb combined with the tactical nature of grand tour racing means that anything can happen on its slopes.
Winners of the Alto de l’Angliru stage
Year Rider (Country) Team
- 1999 José María Jiménez (ESP) Banesto
- 2000 Gilberto Simoni (ITA) Lampre-Daikin
- 2002 Roberto Heras (ESP) U.S. Postal Service
- 2008 Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana
- 2011 Wout Poels (NED) Vacansoleil
- 2013 Kenny Elissonde (FRA) FDJ-BigMat
- 2017 Alberto Contador (ESP) Trek–Segafredo
- 2020 Hugh Carthy (GBR) EF Education First
- 2023 Primož Roglič (SLO) Jumbo-Visma
Fastest Ascents of the Angliru
Rank Year Ascent Time Avg. Speed Rider (Country) Team
- 2008 44:17 17.34 km/h Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
- 2000 44:13 17.37 km/h Raimondas Rumšas (LIT) Fassa Bortolo
- 2008 44:10 17.39 km/h Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Caisse d’Epargne
- 2011 43:57 17.47 km/h Juan Jose Cobo (ESP) Geox-TMC
- 2002 43:55 17.49 km/h Roberto Heras (ESP) U.S. Postal Service
- 2008 43:54 17.49 km/h Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d’Epargne
- 2013 43:35 17.62 km/h Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Astana
- 2013 43:35 17.62 km/h Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar
- 2020 43:34 17.62 km/h Hugh Carthy (GBR) EF Education First
- 2000 43:24 17.70 km/h Roberto Laiseka (ESP) Euskadi
- 2000 43:24 17.70 km/h Pavel Tonkov (RUS) Mapei
- 2008 43:12 17.78 km/h Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana
- 2013 43:07 17.81 km/h Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan
- 2000 41:55 18.32 km/h Roberto Heras (ESP) Kelme-Costa Blanca
Chris Horner becomes the oldest Grand Tour winner
In stage 3 of the 2013 Vuelta a España, Horner attacked over the last kilometer to win the stage and take the overall lead in the race. By doing this, he became the oldest rider in history (41 years and 307 days) to win a stage and wear the leader’s jersey in a Grand Tour.
Horner won again on stage 10, another uphill finish, reclaiming the lead. and setting a new record for the oldest rider (41 years and 314 days) to win a stage in a Grand Tour. Horner’s success at that race continued and he won the race overall on September 15, 2013, the oldest-ever Grand Tour winner (41 years and 327 days).
- Alto de l’Angliru on Wikipedia
- Alto de l’Angliru: the hardest climb in cycling’s Grand Tours - September 13, 2023
- Complete List of UCI Elite Men Road Race World Champions - August 6, 2023
- Tour de France Winner Groupsets [Year by Year, from 1937 to 2023] - July 23, 2023