Ancares - Tejedo (Castilla-y-León)
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When you begin the climb you might wonder what all the fuss is about. The first 3km are very gentle; it is only when you cross a small bridge over the Miravalles River that Ancares begins to reveal its true face. From here, the 5km to the top has an average gradient of 11.7%, with many stretches above 15%.
The difficulty of climbing Ancares from this side is compounded by its remoteness. To even get to Tejedo, it is necessary to climb over the Puerto de Lumeras), and any circular route will likely be over 100km.
Roads & TrafficThe road is narrow, but the surface is in good condition - with just a few minor rough patches. Rather unusually, the surface improves the higher you climb.
There is very little traffic on the climb throughout the year. This is one of the most isolated and uninhabited parts of Spain.
The Ancares National Reserve is one of the remote and isolated parts of Spain. The mountains here are beautiful and as untouched by development as anywhere in Western Europe.
The climb from Tejedo begins on a narrow lane through dense forest, before the scenery opens up towards the top of the climb. Here there are stunning views looking over the peaks of the National Reserve, a view which former Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre famously described as the best in the world.
Ancares is a relative newcomer to the Vuelta a España. First used in 2012 when a stage finish here was won by Joaquím Rodríguez, it also hosted a famous mano-a-mano between Chris Froome and Alberto Contador in the 2014 edition - the stage and race both eventually being won by Contador. This side has not yet been used during the Vuelta - but it is still every bit as enjoyable to ride as the routes from the west.
Techincally the top of Ancares is just over the border from Castilla-y-León in Galicia. However, from this side 99% of the climb is in the province of León.
Ancares closes in winter due to snow, but is usually open from mid-April to early December.
Other sidesThis is the only way to climb Ancares from the east; however, there are several routes from the west - all of which begin in the region of Galicia. The three most common routes are all very challenging: Via Balouta is probably the most classic ascent, while the Piornedo route is also a popular climb. The hardest, however, is the side used in the 2014 Vuelta - via Pan do Zarco this side also includes a short unpaved section.
Nearby ClimbsPuerto de Lumeras
Cruz de Hierro
Llano de las Ovejas