Chris Froome (Sky) hammered his rivals to win the Vuelta's final time trial to stay in contention for the title after cutting Nairo Quintana's lead down to 1:21. The Tour de France champion, second in GC, clocked a best time of 46:33. Contador, who finished almost two minutes behind Froome, is now third overall while Esteban Chaves (Orica-Bike Exchange) slipped down to fourth after losing over three minutes. The title will be decided in Saturday's 20th stage, a gruelling mountain...
The stage in videos
- Onboard camera - Stage 19 (Xàbia / Calp)...
- Summary - Stage 19 (Xàbia / Calp) - La...
The stage in pictures
Chris Froome (Team Sky), winner of stage 19 of the 2016 Vuelta a España © J.A. Miguelez
Cliffs, capes and beaches
The stage goes through the North coast of the Province of Alicante and its surrounding mountain ranges. Characterised by its marvellous cliffs, capes, coves and beaches that are loved by the millions of visitors they receive each year.
The stage leaves Xavia and enters the Montgo Mountain Range. The main part of the mountain range is formed by marine rocks that are between 90 and 35 million years old (between the Late Cretaceous Period and the Eocene Period). The rocks tell a long geological story of over 200 million years, when an ancient sea by the name of Tethys existed, a precursor to the current Mediterranean Sea. Marine sediments were deposited in this sea over several million years that, with time, became the current limestone rocks that make up the mountain ranges in the Marina region.
From the summits we can see the Plana de San Antonio, an extensive sea plain formed 5 to 2 million years ago (in the Pliocene Period). This large plateau ends in front of the sea with a marine cliff. The coastline has a cropped outline, featuring coves and promontories, among which the San Antonio Cape deserves a special mention: it is an incredible natural viewpoint (declared a Marine Reserve in 1993), from which the best views and most impressive cliffs and headlands can be seen.
The entire coastline covered by this stage is scored by numerous holes and caves, created by the dissolution of limestone rocks brought about by underground water and marine erosion. Important caves in the area include the Moraig Cave, the Cova dels Arcs and the Cova de Les Rates Penates (in Moraira), important both for its archaeological deposit with remains dating back to the Bronze Age and for being the most important bat refuge within the Autonomous Community of Valencia, with over 2000 specimens.
Passing through Calpe, we must turn our attention to its coastal lagoon known also as Salinas de Calpe, closed off by a sand barrier. This lagoon is also important due to its location as a transit spot for migratory birds, especially flamingos.
As the race draws to an end, we come before the majestic Peñon de Ifach (Ifach Rock), standing 332 metres above sea level, formed by Eocene limestone and very rich in fossils. The rock was an island until the Calpe isthmus, the last in this edition of the Vuelta, linked it to dry land. Its amazing vertical walls rise up from the sea that surrounds it. Its beauty, its geological uniqueness and the complexity of the eco-systems found on it, led to its declaration as a Natural Park in 1987. It is one of the main Points of Geological Interest in Spain.
Marine plain. A marine plain is a coastal rocky platform, located at low-tide level, that appears in front of a rocky cliff.
Jersey wearers after the stage 21
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