Saturday September 9th, 2017

Stage 20Corvera de Asturias / Alto de l'Angliru

Start 14h19 (Local time)
  • Fernando Escartín commentary

    Mountain. Short stage (119.2 kilometres), but very tough. La Vuelta winner may be determined at the Alto de l'Angliru, as was the case in 2011 between Bradley Wiggins and Juanjo Cobo. It is the last stage and the riders will give it their all, so we are in for a good show.


Mountain ranges that gallop

Valle Mountain Range or Peña de Candamo, the cave’s access trail can be seen in the background. © Este archivo se encuentra bajo la licencia Creative Commons Genérica de Atribución/Compartir-Igual 3.0Senda del Oso, crossing the Valdemurio Reservoir © This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 GenericLas Xanas Gorge © Este archivo está disponible bajo la licencia Creative Commons Atribución 2.0 GenéricaÁramo Mountain Range © Este archivo se encuentra bajo la licencia Creative Commons Genérica de Atribución/Compartir-Igual 3.0

Nubledo-Corbera de Asturias-Angliru

The twentieth stage takes place almost entirely on rocks that were formed during the last half of the Paleozoic Period (440-250 million years ago). These include slates, sandstone, conglomerate rocks and limestone, with abundant levels of coal and other mining resources, such as copper, that have been frequently exploited. In the diagram, we see greys and dark purples, illustrating a complex geological structure, formed by numerous fractures and folds that draw a visible arch even in the mountain ridges and valleys.

The stage will take us towards the nucleus of the Cantabrian Mountains. Right at the start, in Corvera de Asturias, the mountain ranges surround us in a very pronounced North-South direction. During the Hercynian (or Variscan) Orogeny, formed around 250 million years ago, the region's rocks were compressed between two continents and piled up on top of each other, forming overthrust formations.

Besides these large structures, along the stage route we also cross various karst systems, formed by the dissolution of carbonated rocks (limestone and dolomites). The karst's underground landscapes are often doubly interesting: geologically and archaeologically, because they often contain primitive works of art. One such place is the La Peña Cave, or Cándamo Cave, in the Valle Mountain Range, to the right of Grullos. It has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site because it contains paintings and carvings featuring horses and bovine creatures that date back to the Upper Paleolithic Period (23,000-10,000 years ago).

Following the route, we arrive at the Trubia Valley. This ancient mining valley once had a railway for the transport of coal and iron from Santa Marina (Quirós) and the Teverga Mines (Entrago). Nowadays, the mines are closed and the ancient railway has been transformed into the Senda del Oso, one of the most transited rail trails by hikers and cyclists.

The entire valley is a magnificent geological landscape, but one of its most important features stands out above the rest: the Xanas Gorge, besides Villanueva. This canyon, that measures only two kilometres, was created by the dissolution of limestone rocks, giving way to the fractures and erosion of the Xanas Stream. With its caves and its impressive slopes, it is one of Asturias' most emblematic landscapes.

When we leave the valley, we begin to cut across mountain ranges, climbing and descending, while we border the Áramo Mountain Range on its Southern side, towards the finish-line at Angliru. The summit landscape was shaped by glacial action combined with the limestone dissolution process, during the entire Pleistocene Period (2.5-0 million years ago). That is why there is a multitude of limestone pavements, sinkholes and sumps and, as a consequence of the ice, the jous.

Stage Term: Orogeny

Group of processes that lead to the formation of mountain ranges and large mountainous systems. The orogeny results from the approximation of two tectonic plates as a consequence of the dynamics of the Earth's deepest layers. This approximation provokes the compression of materials and such phenomena as volcanism, faults and earthquakes. 

Jersey wearers after the stage 4

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Classifications after the stage 4

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