This is the Balcony of Alicante

The Alicante summit will be the goal of the seventh stage and AS went to recognize it together with Ángel Casero, who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his title.

It is not uncommon that, with the layout ahead of the 76th edition of La Vuelta (from August 14 to September 5), it is noticed that the first great mountain day, tough and demanding from start to finish, is located in the Levantine coast. The Spanish round has always seen in this area a nursery of different routes in which to take advantage of its unique orography to represent the Spanish natural wealth. On its roads you have the opportunity to mix stages of maximum demand in a mountainous route while serving as a showcase for hidden places very close to one of the most touristy coasts of Spain.And that is precisely what he will do on his seventh day (August 20): a tough stage starting in a coastal city as popular as Gandía, but with a route that will cross six ports in what is expected to be the first major screening of the career. A day that, in addition, gains in attraction for the discovery, in the middle of the Sierra de Miagmó, of what will be its culmination, the Balcón de Alicante, an unprecedented port with very hard sections from whose top you can enjoy the most impressive views of the Costa Blanca Alicante.

To recognize it, AS has a luxury host, an ex-cyclist who knows the area, and not only because of his past as a star of national cycling, but also because of his current position as director of the Vuelta a la Comunitat Valenciana. Ángel Casero, who is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of the achievement of his great achievement, La Vuelta de 2001, gets on his bicycle to make this 8.4 km climb at 6.2%, first class, whose Difficulty is not only in a second part of a brutal port, but in the tremendous demand of the rest of the day, which will have mountains from the very start. Before ascending this Alicante port, the peloton will have reached the summit at kilometer 16 in the port of Llacuna (another first of 9.4 km at 6.2%), the third in Benilloba, the second in Tudons and Collao and another third already in Tibi shortly before reaching the first ramps of the Balcón de Alicante.

At least, "the first part of the last pass is the smoothest," says Ángel Casero, who starts the climb at a good pace. But he also warns: "The problem is that the entrance to the port is narrow, so the main difficulty is the fight for a good placement." And it is true that those first ramps, around 6% or 7%, plus then a small descent, are simply the appetizer. “It is true that the stage is tough, but seeing the high level of La Vuelta, I estimate that some 40 cyclists in the main group can reach the port on foot. If so, the gregarious should work at the beginning. ”

Because it will be in the middle of the port where the climb gets serious. Among pine forests that will provide some shade and respite from the heat that is expected that August 20, the road becomes steep again, and a lot. “It is an ascent that represents very well what the interior of Alicante is, it is seen that Unipublic and the institutions have seen that it was a novel ascent that was going to show wonderfully the beauty of the area. And they have wanted me to be demanding. It is stage seven, here La Vuelta is not going to be won, but we are going to see who is not there to conquer the general, ”explains Casero.

Y is that the last four kilometers do not drop by 9% or 10% at the same time that they exceed a thousand meters of unevenness (the stage has more than 3,500 accumulated). The maximum slopes reach 14% and the road that ascends becomes a real wall. "If the favorites have a gregarious person left, it is time for them to make their last effort," says an Ángel Casero who, from the beginning of the ascent, has warned that the greatest requirement is in the final stretch ... but also the most spectacular views.

Because once you get to the top, the landscape amazes, with the city of Alicante in the background and the Mediterranean Sea. “If the fans can come, it is an area that is worth it. Those who know it know that there are many ways to access the spectacular ramps, and those who see it on TV will discover a beautiful area for cycling. ”

Y is that nobody knows better than Casero, as an organizer who has also had to deal with the blow of the pandemic, what an arrival like this supposes: “It is an area with many possibilities and it is going to be a boost in many ways. Even for the Volta that we organize it is also important that La Vuelta comes ”. A Valencian cycling festival with a key stage for the general in their land. And not just any one, but a very demanding one ... whose high end has views of the Mediterranean.

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