This longer version of the Cordal loop is quite challenging to say the least. In total you will climb over 2000 meters in just over 5okms (half of that being downhill) so make sure you take lots of energy bars with you. Like the shorter loop you can start from La Vega (where the L’Angliru also begins) and head straight up El Cordal. From this side El Cordal isn’t that tough but it is quite long. Once you crest the Cordal there is a turn to the right just 30m from the top. This is the start of the Cuchu Puercu, a little used climb (many Asturians don’t even know about it) that is well worth riding. The climb has some pretty tough ramps but there are several places that offer some respite. The views are stunning as you look out over the mountain range.
The end of the Cuchu Puecu brings you out at the dreaded La Cobertoria. This climb is often used in The Vuelta a España and is a real brute of a climb. Fortunately you come out near the top of the climb so won’t have to suffer much as you head up, but unfortunately you come out at one of the tough 14% sections before reaching the right turn for the Gamoniteiro. The Gamoniteiro starts of quite easy and the road, though narrow, is in surprisingly good condition, although a fare amount of cow pat dodging may be required at the beginning and actual cow dodging at the top.
Both road conditions and gradient change significantly as you head up. The road surface is pretty good for most of the way but there are two patches of really bad cement. They are both on really steep sections but they are short so just about managable. Gradients also increase dramatically. The climb averages 10% and after the east start it’s double figures most of the way with several sections of 17%.
The climb ends at the antenna that supplies the TV for Asturias and the only way to go from there is back down. Coming back you head to Pola de Lena down the Cobertoria. It’s a really fast descent so it won’t take you long to get to Pola. From there it’s left through Pola de Lena and once past it, it’s left again and up El Cordal from the other side. I really like this climb but it’s significantly tougher than coming from the other side. The last 2 kms are around 10% to 12% but once at the top it’s all down hill to La Vega and the end of the ride.
The route offers fantastic views, some great climbing and a real tough workout and is well worth doing. The best places to eat are Pola de Lena or La Vega. It’s best to do on a nice clear day as it does get cold up the top and the views are what make the ride so good.
Elevation Gain: 2147m
Major Climbs: El Cordal (both ways(6% and 8%)), Cuchu Puecu (6%), Alto de Gamoniteiro (10%), La Cobertoria (part of)
Highest Gradients: 18%
Highest point: 1784m
Road conditions: Varied
Route Level: 4