Lagos de Covadonga is Spain’s most unforgettable cycling climb. Angliru may be one of most feared climbs in professional cycling; Lagos de Covadonga is the choice of purists.
Long, enough to launch an attack capable of winning a race, but not so long that all the action comes down to a final couple of kilometres. It is steep enough that anyone having a bad will wish they had stayed in bed, but not so steep that riders are merely looking to make it to the finish line rather than attacking the mountain.
Set in the Picos de Europa National Park the climb is as much about the spectacular scenery as it is the road. The reward for enduring the gruelling ride to the top is the lakes of Lagos de Covadonga for which the climb is named.
The average gradient may be less than 7%, but there are numerous sustained sections where the gradient increases by more than 10%. The most arduous is the intense La Huesera section – a near straight slope in the middle of the climb with an average gradient of 14% over a distance of 700m.
As you near the end of the climb you are rewarded with a couple of welcome downhill sections.
Eurosport reporter and cycling novice Tom Bennett set out to see if it was possible for the average man to cycle the climb and be rewarded with the spectacular views at the end of the ride.
Have a look at the video below and see if you fancy having a go on one of professional cycling’s most exciting hill climbs.