Jonas Van Genechten rewarded his IAM Cycling team from their efforts in their last Grand Tour when he outpowered a bunch depleted by a crash shortly before the line to win the 7th stage of the Vuelta in Puebla de Sanabria. The peloton had just reeled in escapees Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Simon Clarke (Cannondale-Drapac) when Alberto Contador and several other riders hit the canvas, splitting the pack. Van Genechten did not miss his chance to surge and hand his team, who fold at...
The stage in videos
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The stage in pictures
The glacier heritage
Although the entire stage unfolds on very ancient rocks, this time it finishes in a recent landscape, left to us by the last glacial phase, on several mountains.
From Maceda and, later, from Allariz, we will pass through large areas of granite, gneiss and slate rocks. The emergence of these rocks has fascinated humans since prehistoric times and were chosen as sanctuaries or magical places, places that are marked with petroglyphs (rock carvings) and other inscriptions, such as the San Vitorio petroglyphs in Baños de Molgas, just a few kilometres away from the race's itinerary.
For the majority of the stage, the geo-diversity is only visible if you pay particular attention to details. Experts use the term “biostasy” to refer to the periods in which a favourable climate and relief stability allow for the development of vegetation and deep, increasingly fertile grounds to take place. This was the case in most of Galicia over the past several million years, which is why earth and vegetation cover almost every rock. How are geological maps created when the rocks cannot be seen? Geologists have developed increasingly sophisticated, detective-like strategies.
In the central part of the stage, the route crosses the Limia depression, an area between mountains limited by ancient faults that moved recently (a few million years is not much in the history of the Earth). This formed a basin that was filled with river sediments where the Antela lagoon was located, before it was drained in the 1950s, when Spain was drying up its wetlands in a battle against malaria. Nowadays, it is an agricultural area that enjoys one of the region's rare plains.
But the stage's main geological attraction awaits us near the finish-line. The Sanabria Lake has an incomparable landscape and, with its 318 surface hectares and a depth of up to 51 metres, it is the largest glacial lake in the Iberian Peninsula.
During the Quaternary most recent glacial phases, around 100,000 years ago, a large glacier settled on these mountains, forming a miniature ice cap. Ice strips spilled from that ice mass, moving glaciers that, like excavators, created deep canyons in the region's granite. One of the ice strips followed the current flow of the Tera River, was 15 kilometres long and reached a width of over 300 metres of glacial ice.
When glaciation ended abruptly around 12,000 years ago, it left behind a heritage of deep canyons, hanging valleys, roches moutonnées, glacial ridges, moraine and, the most characteristic element of the Natural Park and of the entire region: the Sanabria Lake.
Glacier. Ice mass that flows as a consequence of the differences in pressure between one area and another. Its flow shapes the topography through the processes of erosion and sedimentation.
Jersey wearers after the stage 21
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