Italian Valerio Conti claimed the biggest prize of his career when he powered to a solo victory in the 13th stage of the Vuelta a Espana, attacking a reduced group of breakaway riders with less than 20 kilometres left in the 213.4-km hilly ride between Bilbao and Urdax-Dantxarinea. The 23-year-old Conti, who was part of the the initial 12-man breakaway as the GC favourites kept quiet on a hot day in the Basque country, gave his Lampre-Merida team their first stage win in this year's race....
The stage in videos
- Onboard camera / Cámara a bordo - Étape...
- Summary - Stage 13 (Bilbao /...
- Last kilometer / Ultimo kilómetro -...
The stage in pictures
Flysch and surf in a Geo-park
This stage takes place parallel to the coast and visits some of the most emblematic locations of the Iberian Peninsula's geological heritage.
The Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, declared by UNESCO in 1984, encompasses the territory pertaining to the Oka River's catchment area. This place preserves traces of the Earth's history dating back 250 million years, and researchers from all over the world work hard to interpret them. From ancient volcanoes and underwater deltas, to extremely well-preserved fossil reefs. The mouth of the river is amazing with its abrupt, whimsical sand formations. One particular attraction is the sand barrier of Mundaka, that results in one of the most famous waves in the world for surfing. The karst cavities and caves that give the Biosphere Reserve such a characteristic appearance are also very interesting. Some of them, such as the one at Santimamiñe, contain archaeological remains from the first inhabitants of Urdaibai. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As the stage passes through Zumaia, the coast acquires a spectacular outline. We enter the Basque Coast Geo-park, declared by UNESCO. Add to the cliffs and beautiful beaches the fact that the rocks are formed by alternating layers, both hard (limestone and sandstone) and soft (marlstone and clay rocks), reminding us of a giant “millefeuille” (thousand leaves cake). These particular formations, that go by the name of flysch, are vertical here, allowing us to see the different layers of sediment that are normally found horizontally.
Besides the obvious beauty of this stretch of cliffs, the study of these rocks allows us to clarify questions regarding various topics, such as the study of ancient sea eco-systems and climactic changes. Among all the events that have left their mark on these rocks, the one that stands out is the asteroid that hit the Earth and provoked a global catastrophe. The Earth's atmospheric conditions changed in such a way that 60% of the world's species became extinct, among them the dinosaurs. Proof of this catastrophe is found in very few locations worldwide, this being one of them, which is why it is visited by scientists from all over the globe.
The stage continues on to San Sebastian, whose main attraction is La Concha (Shell) Beach. In the past, Mount Urgull was an island and the primitive bay had a beach measuring over three kilometres long, encompassing the city's three beaches and two islands. Later, the coastal dynamic moved the sediments that had been brought to the coast by the Urumea River, joining the island of Urgull with dry land.
Due to its peculiar configuration, the bay waters are usually still, although tidal changes occur often and affect, mainly, the width of the beaches that can disappear altogether for a few hours.
We arrive in a witch town, in Zugarramundi, where there are endless deep, closed valleys, sinkholes, upwelling water, etc. in a karst landscape that presents an irregular, intricate and mysterious topography that has stirred the imagination of its inhabitants since ancient times.
Urdax Cave stands out for the multitude of colours found in its ochre, orange and white rooms and walls. Also worth mentioning are the enormous formations that, although they do not join the ceiling to the floor, they do hang from the ceiling exposing their attractive colours to visitors. These are commonly known as “artichokes”. These caves were occupied in ancient times, as various archaeological investigations have shown. Remains such as chisels, scrapers and harpoons made of flint have been found there, as well as food remains and traces of a human burial, which proves that Palaeolithic men inhabited these lands.
Flysch, is a term of Suisse origin used to refer to geological formations made up of thin, alternating compact sandstone and clay stone strata that give rocks a very particular appearance.
Jersey wearers after the stage 21
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