Robert Gesink came back from the dead to claim the Queen stage of the Vuelta a España at the Col d'Aubisque, powering away from Kenny Elissonde and Egor Silin 300 metres from the line for his maiden grand tour stage win. The Dutchman, dropped by his breakaway companions in the descent from the Col de Marie-Blanque, eventually rejoined a reduced leading group before showing he was the strongest on the day. Briton Simon Yates, at the end of a long-range, perfectly executed attack, moved...
The stage in videos
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The stage in pictures
The Pyrenees that bind us
Just 34 kilometres from the capital of the Autonomous Community of Navarra, the stage arrives in Lecumberry. Found in the geographic region of the Navarra Mountain at an altitude of 571 metres, it has traditionally been a place of passage between mountains, in the centre of the Larraun Valley and at the foot of the Aralar Mountain Range. It is an extensive plateau shared by Navarra and Guipuzcoa, this last slope constituting the Aralar Natural Park since 1994.
The rocks that make up this mountain range are primarily limestone with significant karst phenomena both on the surface and underground, giving way to a rocky and chaotic landscape made up of channels, blind valleys, sinkholes and a multitude of caves and chasms. At the same time, it is a landscape of evergreen meadows and beech woods that change colour with the passing seasons. It is one of the most important dolmen sites as well as a classic tourist destination for mountaineers and hikers alike.
Upon our arrival at the town of TardetsSohorlus, one of the highlights of the historical Basque province of Zuberoa, we can find two of the area's most popular routes and locations, such as the ascent up to the Ori peak, right on the border with Navarra, and the Kakuetta Gorge in UrdatxSanta.
The Kakueta Gorge is a narrow canyon almost five kilometres long where the Uhaitza River flows. This pass is made up of limestone and features several cascades, waterfalls and narrowed stretches. It also has several caves located along its rocky walls. In fact, the river's water level receives underground contributions from the karst system of Larra, depending primarily on the season. The canyon is prepared for tourist visits thanks to its rock steps and some bridges that allow visitors to go inside it.
Nearby is the San Martin Massif, made up mainly of limestone from the Late Cretaceous Period (around 100 million years ago). The area's particular lithological, structural and climactic characteristics have conditioned the development of an important karst system on the massif. The superficial formations are the regional landscape's most striking element, especially the channels. But, although it is far from view, the underground karst development is just as, if not more, spectacular. Actually, this is where one of the 15 deepest caves in the world is found.
Heading towards the Arétte Pierre St. Martin area, we can observe the “valley fog” that appears when the atmosphere is stable and skies are clear. The lower night-time temperatures usually cause fog to form in the valleys (sea of clouds) as there tends to be more humidity there. These are associated with good weather, low winds and temperature inversions and usually dissipate with the daytime heat provided by the sun.
Limestone pavementis a terrain featuring numerous holes, grooves and sharp rock edges, produced by the erosion and dissolution brought about by water (both superficial and underground). The ridges can range anywhere between a few millimetres to several metres. This is a very typical trait of karst landscapes. They can develop on different scales: from just a few centimetres in length to extensive surfaces or even create large-scale chaotic topographies with passageways, alleys and caves in what is referred to as “enchanted cities”.
Jersey wearers after the stage 21
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