15 September 2018, the last mountain stage of the Vuelta a Espana amounts to merely 97.3 kilometers, yet takes in close to 4,000 vertical meters.
The stage finished on top of the Coll de La Gallina. Former pro Joaquim Rodriguez, nicknamed Purito, calls La Gallina ‘the heaviest climb in Andorra’. He could know, because as a resident of Andorra Purito knows the climb very well. It was part of his trainings, and he knows that the last four kilometers are very heavy, with an average of almost 10%.
Barely a meter flat, you will tackle the Coll de la Comella within 1 kilometer from the start. Not the hardest climb of the day with 4.7 kilometers averaging 6.8%.
The Coll de Beixalis is next on the list of six climbs in the road book. The Beixalis amounts to 9.7 kilometers and the average gradient is 6.8%, while its steepest stretch is 14%.
Straight after the descent the Coll de Ordino looms, which is the longest and highest (1.980m) climb of the day. The 11.2 kilometers at 6.5% is crested after 42 kilometers before the route continues for a few kilometers in rolling fashion. The descent back into the valley runs to the foot of the Coll de Beixalis, which is approached from the northern side this time. It’s the same climb, but the slope starts a few kilometers later. This way the Beixalis amounts to 6.5 kilometers at 8.3%.
The route continue going back up on the Coll de La Comella, but the second drag up to the top is on the other side. For 4 kilometers the route climbs at 4.9% before the top is crested with 16.5 kilometers to go. After this climb, you got eight kilometers to get to the foot of the Coll de La Gallina. You will cross the beautiful Andorra la Vella, the capital of Andorra.
The final climb, Coll de La Gallina, is known for its double digit switchbacks not too far from the summit. At the Vuelta in 2018 the pro cyclists didn’t do the full climb. They missed out on the last four kilometer and these got some cruel peaks hitting double digits. The final haul up for the pro riders to the line amounts 7.7 kilometers with an average gradient of 7.8%.