Saturday, September 06, 2008

14 Return of The Alto de L'Angliru

Stage 13 is perhaps the most crucial point of this year's Vuelta a Espana. There's a surprise towards the end.

People either hate her, or fear her. I haven't heard of any tender feelings.

You may call her La Gamonal, Alto de L'Angliru, Cima del Angliru, The Angliru or just.. sweetly, the bitch.

For the first time since the 2002 Vuelta, after lying dormant somewhere in Northern Spain, her strangely steep existence will awake to the the feel of more than a 100 angry bicycle wheels scraping past her back.

And then you'll hear the crack of her whip. Expect hell.

Profile of the complete climb

Be at your own health risk with 39-25T gearing

You can get a feel for it by checking out the declivity.

When Spanish race officials first decided to try the climb out in 1999, local favorite known for his showman explosive attacking style , "el Chaba" José Maria Jiménez - got the edge and won the epic stage.

Apparently that day, he was too drained to even raise an arm in victory under the pouring rain. Just how he won is popularized, depending on what you read or whom you talk to, so its legend. The man isn't even alive today to talk about it. A heart attack took his life at a young age of 32. [Read letters to Cycling News following his demise ]

El Chaba winning the stage :

That day in 1999, German Jan Ullrich was content enough to limit his losses and not get killed on the climb. Language warning for the music in the background.


  1. Thanks for posting. I didn't know that the Agliru was that tough. Ouch. I wish we could get TV coverage for the Vuelta here but all we get is 10 minutes of the last few kilometers of each stage every morning. Would be worth staying up to watch this battle.

  2. Neither do I have the time to follow every minute of every stage... but you shouldn't miss Angliru!

  3. This looks incredibly brutal. I think this is the climb where David Millar threw his bike down just before the finish and stalked off one year. I am surprised to see it again included as it set off an arms race with the Italians, who started including ski resort parking lots in the Giro just so they could say their hills were steeper. The Angliru is about the only hill I have heard of where some of the pros actually use a triple. Great videos!

  4. Millar is a whiner. It was apt that he got disqualified by the race officials that day. As to the real reason why the Angliru was not included between 2003-2007, I do not know. The cars had trouble getting up it, and generally there was chaos towards the top end of the road.

  5. Anonymous3:59 PM

    Holy smoke this is one steep SOB. I found two more descending videos, done on bike. From the looks of it, there are several sections with loose gravel and rock. Won't be a problem uphill but not so good on the way down.

    Part 1

    Part 2

  6. Anonymous8:55 AM

    what the hell does 'el chaba' mean?

  7. I asked the same question to a Spanish friend of mine. He mentioned that it means "1 cent" as in a coin. Not sure how accurate that is, so was Jimenez the 1 cent guy...?

  8. Anonymous3:45 PM

    was the idea that he would attack on any condition, even if the result was him earning a cent?

  9. Excuse me, El Chaba means "The Wild One" Could be a local dialect or something.

    1. It is said that Chaba comes from chabacano (gaudy or tasteless in spanish), and that chabacano was his family nickname in his home village (family nicknames are usual even today in rural spain).

  10. Anonymous4:09 PM

    chaba was Sastre's brother in-law. Sad that he had to leave his sister behind...

  11. Well, thats what drugs do to you.. pretty sad indeed.

  12. Guys,

    Here's another great review of the Angliru with awesome pictures.

  13. I have always enjoyed joining marathons. But I have never been able to finish one because I get tired before I reach the finish line.


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