Puerto de Urkiola - Mañaria (Basque Country)
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Roads & TrafficThe road is in very good condition throughout.
There is a lot of traffic on the climb. It is a main road connecting the capital of the Basque Country - Vitoria-Gasteiz - with the industrial towns of Durango, Gernika and Markina-Xemein.
Puerto de Urkiola was described by Basque professional cyclist Igor Anton as being "Our Ventoux". In reality, the climb has little in common with the Giant of Provence. It is much shorter, has steeper gradients and has completely different scenery.
Where Urkiola does share a similarity with Ventoux, however, is in its status. This is one of the most revered and famous cycling climbs in the Basque Country - ranking alongside Arrate and Jaizkibel. It is a regular feature in the Tour of the Basque Country stage race and has also been used numerous times in the Vuelta a España.
For amateur cyclists it is a a challenging climb due to the gradients, but also unfortunately due to the high volume of traffic which uses this important link road. It is with a heavy heart that we have given this just a ** rating, but the sheer number of cars and trucks certainly affects the enjoyment of the climb. In terms of scenery, there are pleasant views to the surrounding Urkiola Natural Park, but the traffic again demands that most of your concentration goes towards staying safe.
By far the best time to climb Urkiola is on a race day when the road is closed. The atmosphere here is something incredible. Unlike the rather boorish nature of Dutch Corner on Alpe d'Huez or the now corporate hospitality area of Oude Kwaremont in the Tour of Flanders - the fans on Urkiola are there for one thing only - the cycling. The passion for cycling is incredible in the Basque Country and this is a climb which brings out the most fervent followers in their thousands.
Puerto de Urkiola is open throughout the year.
Other sidesUrkiola can also be climbed from Otxandio. This is barely even a climb though and is the much less celebrated side.