Spain is a country with a big cycling tradition and enjoys a geography that is ideal for training. If pain is a requirement for a good climb, then we've found you the top 5 suffer-climbs in Spain. Some well known but others never climbed in the Vuelta a España.
You'll need your climbers jersey, strong legs and your Echelon Featherweight All-Conditions Weatherproof Ride Pouch to carry your essentials and nothing more. Every gram counts and it's the lightest cycling wallet out there.
Sierra de Lújar (Granada)
Specifically, through Rubite, we are talking about a huge climb that will not disappoint you. If we tell you that there are 32 kilometers to climb at 5.8% of average slope, it is already scary. If we add that it has sections of up to 17% and many that exceed 14% your legs will start trembling. Awesome, right?
A long, very long mountain pass, in which specifically the last 8 kilometers are the hardest of the climb. Nothing to envy ports like Galibier or Mont Ventoux but in the south of Spain.
Chanajiga (Tenerife, Canary Islands)
The climb to Chanajiga, located on the island of Tenerife, has its crumb as we will see. It begins in the town of Realejo Alto and ends in the Natural Park of La Corona Forestal. From Realejo Alto, this climb accumulates 9.5 km of ascent, with a positive slope of 1,150 meters. The average slope is 12%!!! But this is not all because the hardest sections exceed 25%, some sections will make you think twice if you need to put your feet on the asphalt.
It is completely paved, so you can climb it with your road bike. The last four kilometers of ascent are practically a wall with a section that is around 19% on average in these four kilometers. Simply brutal and almost inhuman!
Want to suffer? Some say the Angliru is the hardest climb in professional cycling (Mortirolo anyone?), but there’s no question that it’s the hardest mountain pass in the history of the Vuelta a España. First conquered in 1999 and since then it has become a customary in the route of the Grand Tour.
It is a mountain pass of 12.6 km, where the first 6 kilometers are comparable to a hard climb, but when arriving at Via Pará the road will look like a wall, with a minimum slope of 12% in those last 6 kilometers. Some slopes higher than 20% and a section of one kilometer to 17.5% will make you suffer on the bicycle like in no other European climb.
Without any doubt, one of the hardest you will find in Spain and one you can not miss. And if you can, bring your mom so she can "encourage" you has you crawl up.
Pico Veleta (Granada)
Granada is a place to go, we have already talked about the Sierra de Lújar, but in Sierra Nevada, you will find the Pico Veleta, which is the third-highest summit of the Iberian peninsula, and where you can climb above 3300 meters on a paved road that leads to the summit. It lacks the romance of The Alpe d'Huez or Mont Ventoux but is longer and harder than both of them. It's also twice the ascent of Tourmalet! The average grade is 6.5%, but you'll be breathless at the top where the the last 8m average over 8%.
Photos: Polina Rytova, Felix Besombes, Simon Harrod, Alfonso Fernandez