Nairo Quintana set a few records straight with a superb show of strength in the 10th stage of the Vuelta at the Lagos de Covadonga, scene of a fantastic battle between the favorites. The Colombian, who had yet to win a stage in the Tour of Spain, finally did so in style after dropping all his rivals one by one before going on his own 3.5 km from the line. He finally stole stage honors from Dutch escapee Robert Gesink (Lotto Nl-Jumbo), who bravely salvaged second place ahead of an astounding...
The stage in videos
- Onboard camera - Stage 10 (Lugones / Lagos...
- Summary - Stage 10 (Lugones / Lagos de...
- Last kilometer - Stage 10 - La Vuelta a...
The stage in pictures
Gianluca Brambilla (Etixx - Quick Step) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) during stage 10 of the 2016 Vuelta a España © Photo Gómez Sports
The stage's topography features three very different parts. In the first part, the route goes down to sea level and then goes up the Cantabrian coast several times, a plain created by the waves and under the sea that is today located 60 metres above sea level. Between Lastres and Ribadesella, the route takes us between the coast and the Sueve mountains, which results in the start of irregularities in the topography. And, to finish, between Ribadesella and the Lagos de Covadonga, the peloton goes up the Sella Valley, created by the waters that descended from melting glaciers that once occupied the mountaintops for the greater part of the past two million years. For the second time in the 2016 Vuelta, the finish-line is located near lakes that were formed by the Quaternary glacial phase (this already occurred at the Sanabria Lake).
For the past few years, the stretch of coastline between Lastres and Ribadesella has been known as the “Costa de los Dinosaurios” (“Dinosaur Coast”) due to the large amount of footprints pertaining to giant extinct reptiles that have been discovered there. The footprints belong to sauropods (long-necked) and theropods (closer to the tyrannosaurus) that walked around there around 200 million years ago.
During the Jurassic Period, the area featured swamplands and a very warm climate, almost Caribbean, that the great reptiles must have loved. There are so many remains from this period, that Asturias now houses the Jurassic Museum.
Near Ribadesella we also come across the Tito Bustillo Cave. There are numerous karst formations throughout the entire area: limestone, sinkholes, upwelling, cesspools, stalactites, stalagmites, etc. In the westernmost part of the cave is a huge archaeological deposit, containing important examples of cave paintings (Upper Palaeolithic Period) as well as an ochre vein, used as pigment in the cave's artwork. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008.
From Ribadesella onwards, the Sueve area is formed by very varied and ancient rocks – between 450 and 200 million years old. From the Fitu Viewpoint, one can see the crests formed by the most resistant limestone. It is very interesting to note that, the Mujer Muerta (Dead Woman) Valley, with the La Vita township, sits at the bottom of a karst collapse. Amazingly, these large depressions have very fertile soil and an abundance of water.
If the first part of the stage passes through rocks that were formed in a warm climate, the last part passes through landscapes modelled entirely by glacial ice. In the last 2 million years, ice covered the peaks of the Picos de Europa on many occasions. These glaciers are what eroded the valleys where the stage will end, and formed large accumulations of sediments that geologists refer to as moraines. In this topography, the Lagos de Covadonga formed when the ice pertaining to the last glacial phase melted around 10,000 years ago, just a moment ago if you think of it in geological terms.
Moraine. Accumulation of materials dragged by glacial ice, then abandoned during the ice melting stages.
Jersey wearers after the stage 21
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