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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Angliru climb profile
Alto de l’Angliru climb profile: The top of the climb is 1,573 meters (5,161 feet) above sea level. The height difference is 1,266 meters (4,154 feet). The climb is 12.5 kilometers (7.8 mi) long, the average gradient is 10.13%. The first 5 km (3.1 mi) are an average of 7.6%- stiff but not over-demanding for world-class cyclists. The last half of the climb is more severe. From six kilometers to the summit, it averages 13.1%. The steepest part, the Cueña les Cabres at 23.6%, is 3 km (1.9 mi) from the summit. There are two later ramps at 18% to 21% (sources vary).

Alto de l’Angliru 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 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.

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
Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) wins Vuelta a España 2020 stage 12 atop Angliru
Hugh Carthy (EF Education First) wins Vuelta a España 2020 stage 12 atop Alto de l’Angliru. His climb time (43 minutes 34 seconds) was the sixth-fastest ever.

Fastest Ascents of the Angliru

Rank Year Ascent Time Avg. Speed Rider (Country) Team

  1. 2008 44:17 17.34 km/h Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana
  2. 2000 44:13 17.37 km/h Raimondas Rumšas (LIT) Fassa Bortolo
  3. 2008 44:10 17.39 km/h Joaquim Rodríguez (ESP) Caisse d’Epargne
  4. 2011 43:57 17.47 km/h Juan Jose Cobo (ESP) Geox-TMC
  5. 2002 43:55 17.49 km/h Roberto Heras (ESP) U.S. Postal Service
  6. 2008 43:54 17.49 km/h Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Caisse d’Epargne
  7. 2013 43:35 17.62 km/h Vincenzo Nibali (ITA) Astana
  8. 2013 43:35 17.62 km/h Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar
  9. 2020 43:34 17.61 km/h Hugh Carthy (GBR) EF Education First
  10. 2000 43:24 17.70 km/h Roberto Laiseka (ESP) Euskadi
  11. 2000 43:24 17.70 km/h Pavel Tonkov (RUS) Mapei
  12. 2008 43:12 17.78 km/h Alberto Contador (ESP) Astana
  13. 2013 43:07 17.81 km/h Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan
  14. 2000 41:55 18.32 km/h Roberto Heras (ESP) Kelme-Costa Blanca

Chris Horner becomes the oldest Grand Tour winner

The battle between Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan) at the Angliru stage (Vuelta a España 2013)
Kenny Ellisonde (FDJ-BigMat) won the stage. Chris Horner won his battle against Vincenzo Nibali and became the oldest grand tour winner in history.

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 of 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).

Sources

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