Since I rode the Ermita de Alba earlier this year they have started extending the road up to the church and are repairing existing stretches of the road. My friend Mark rode it the other day and the road was closed to cars due to road works. He managed to climb to the top and said the new stretch has parts as steep or even steeper than the existing ones. Should make for an exciting stage finish 🙂
You can see photos of the new stretch of road to the top in the last 3 photos here: http://39×28.blogia.com/2015/082201-ascension-a-la-ermita-de-alba-galeria-fotografica-.php
The Ermita de Alba is one tough climb. Like the L’Angliru it was nothing more than a cow track not too long ago.
It is the summit finish of Stage 16 of this years (2015) Vuelta a España on 7th September. This will be it’s first appearance in the Vuelta.
Like the L’Angliru it has ramps of over 20%. It is incredibly picturesque and has even been described as being more like the Alpine terrain in France. Indeed, it wouldn’t seem out of place if it were plonked next to L’Alpe d’Huez, or the Galibier and having now ridden the climb, I would tend to agree.
At 6.65kms long its gradient averages a whopping 11.2%, with the last kilometer averaging over 13% with a maximum gradient of 23%+. So although only half the length of the L’Angliru, it certainly rivals it in terms of steepness of ascent. There are a couple of sections that level off, offering a much-needed respite but they are very short.
The climb really starts to steepen once you pass through the last village and just gets steeper and harder the closer you get to the top. You can read a summary of my ride here: https://bikeasturias.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/the-ermita-de-alba-summit-finish-of-stage-16-of-the-vuelta-a-espana-2015
Here are the Stats and profile:
Average Gradient: 11.2%
Max Gradient: 23%+
Max Altitude: 1173m
Elevation climbed: 740m
Road conditions: Not great but one would assume it will be improved a little for the Vuelta. You go up so slowly it doesn’t really matter but you need to be a little cautious on the way down.
How to get there: The climb is situated fairly near Bárzana on the AS-229 which runs between Pola de Lena and Trubia – From Oviedo you head toward Trubia and then carry on, on the AS-228 past Proaza. Once past Proaza you bear left onto the AS-229 in the direction of Pola de Lena. The turn for Emita is several kms along the AS-229 on the left. From Pola de Lena you need to pass over La Cobertoria and then down and the turn for Emita is on your right a kilometre or so past Bárzana.