Thursday September 7th, 2017

Stage 18Suances / Santo Toribio de Liébana

Start 13h14 (Local time)
  • Fernando Escartín commentary

    Mid-mountain. The second consecutive mountain stage will be favourable for breakaways. The peloton will complete several back-to-back climbs, including the Collada de Carmona, Collada de Ozalba and Collada de la Hoz, before reaching the final 2.5 km slope that will lead them to the Santo Toribio de Liébana Monastery, where we expect to see a spectacular finale.


Going up cantabria once again: from the coast to the picos de europa

Liencres Dunes © jroblear / Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)Tajo Estuary © NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory / Dominio público

Suances – Santo Toribio de Liebana Sanctuary.

The stage initially takes place in the rugged Cantabrian coastline, between the towns of Suances and Pesués and crosses the mouths of the Deva River (Tina Mayor Estuary) and Nansa River (Tina Menor Estuary). The Cretaceous materials (145 - 65 million years ago, green and blue-green colours) found along this section form small mountain ranges from East to West.

In the next part, up to Villanueva de la Peña, we find successive, complex geological structures, such as the Escudo de Cabuérniga Mountain Range, that consists of Cretaceous carbonate materials (145 - 65 million years ago); the Santa Lucía Gorge, carved out by the Saja River; the Arriaga and Peñarrobia massif, made out of clay, sandstone and gypsum from the Triassic Period (245 - 200 million years ago, shown in pink tones in the diagram), and, in the spurs of the Picos de Europa, slates, greywacke and Carboniferous limestone (represented by grey brickwork). From La Hermida we cross the gorge left by the Deva River in Potes where we take the Fonfría River Valley to the Chapel of Santo Toribio de Liébana.

This stage is very varied from a geomorphological point of view, as it takes us across a large part of Cantabria and through a multitude of different places. From beaches to high altitude locations.

Our route starts in the Dunas de Liencres Natural Park, with numerous coastal formations such as estuaries, beaches, capes or the famous sand dune ridges, the most developed along the Cantabrian coastline. Towards the West, between the towns of Tagle and Ubiarco we find the “Santa Justa anticline”, an anticline in whose eroded nucleus the Chapel of Santa Justa was built. Further on, in San Vicente de la Barquera, the mouth of the Escudo River forms an estuary where the volume of sediments that are dragged into it by the river force it to be dredged continuously.

Following our arrival at Pechón, the stage moves away from the coast and heads South-East towards Cabezón de la Sal, which is found on top of a salt dome. Later on, in Ruente, there is an underground water upwelling of karst origins, known as the Fuentona de Ruente, which has been adapted for tourism purposes. From here onwards, we find a succession of mountain ranges including the Escudo de Cabuérniga Mountain Range (red sandstone from the Buntsandstein Period – 250 million years ago) or the Arnero Mountain Range (Cretaceous Period – 120 million years ago), with El Soplao Cave and the La Florida Mines (lead and zinc).

Reaching the end of the stage, the riders will make a descent towards La Hermida, where they will follow the course of the Deva River, creator of the La Hermida Gorge, where you can also find thermal water upwellings with a temperature of up to 60ºC.

Finally, our stage reaches Potes, in the Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana, where we can appreciate the glacial activity in the Picos de Europa, from the Liébana river valley and the structures of the viewpoint itself (folds and faults).

Stage Term: Estuary

An estuary is where the mouth of the river flows out into the sea, which influences both the volume of the river and the tides. As a consequence of the meeting of freshwater with saltwater, complex processes of subaquatic sedimentation take place, without forming a delta. The Tajo Estuary in Lisbon is a good example, as is the Rio de la Plata in Argentina.

Jersey wearers after the stage 4

Classifications of the current stage

Classifications after the stage 4

The race live

Key moments

Official apps

Official Timekeeper

Official store


Receive exclusive news about the Vuelta

Partners of la Vuelta