Magnus Cort Nielsen won a bunch sprint on the Vuelta despite being usually restrained to a domestique role at Orica-Bike Exchange. The 23-year-old Dane played in smart in the finale to finish ahead of Nikias Arndt (second) and Jempy Drucker (third). The top guns stayed quiet and Nairo Quintana retained the overall leader's red jersey ahead of Friday's individual time trial, which he will start with a comfortable lead over Chris Froome (Sky) and Esteban Chaves (Orica-Bike...
The stage in videos
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The stage in pictures
Ciclismo / Cicling: La Vuelta 2016. - Etapa 18. Requena - Gandia 08-09-2016. - FOTO/PHOTO: J. A. MIGUELEZ/UNIPUBLIC. © J.A. Miguelez
Volcanoes rest, rivers never do
In Eastern Spain, no one thinks of volcanoes. However, just 2 million years ago, there were active volcanoes in places such as Almeria, Girona and… Cofrentes, in this stage of the Vuelta. Some of the most striking topographies of the stage are remains of extinct volcanoes that left traces showing just how explosive they were. Cofrentes Castle sits on top of one of the area's volcanic material remains; but many more exist, such as the Fraile peak or Agras Hill.
Volcanoes, however, are only a small anecdote of the stage. The main part of the route goes through sedimentary rocks and terrains that were formed when Africa and Europe drew closer to assume their current positions, at the same time as the Pyrenees and the Alps were formed.
The majority of the stage follows the Jucar Valley, between precipices, pools and cascades. The road was built by cutting through the stone in several spots, exposing an endless sequence of limestone, sandstone, gypsum, etc.
Limestone and dolomite are special rocks for a reason: formed by calcium carbonate and magnesium, they dissolve easily but also form new deposits for chemical precipitation. The result is that the entire region is pierced with caves and galleries and, most striking of all, their walls are decorated with whimsical formations. A highlight in the stage is the Don Juan Cave, one of the most important cavities in the Autonomous Community of Valencia. Over 400 metres long and featuring wide rooms, it is adorned by stalactites, stalagmites, streams and springs. The cave also contains archaeological remains that prove its occupation during the Mesolithic Period (8000 to 6000 years BC) and during the Bronze Age (1500 to 500 years BC).
To finish, the stage leaves the mountain ranges and heads to the coastal plains just before arriving in Gandia.
Volcano. Geological structure through which magma emerges in the form of lava, volcanic ash and gas that come from the centre of the Earth.
Stratum. Rocky sedimentary body limited on the top and on the bottom by two interruptions in the sedimentation process. Almost all sedimentary rocks appear in tabular-formed bodies or strata.
Jersey wearers after the stage 21
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