Cuitu Negru (Castilla-y-León)
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Cuitu Negru is a significantly more challenging climb than the stats suggest. The really challenge comes after leaving Branillín in the final 3km; where the average gradient is 12.5% and there are sustained pitches above 20%.
Roads & TrafficThe road is in very good condition throughout. The section after Branillín used to be gravel, but was freshly paved for the 2012 Vuelta a España.
The first 5km are on a very busy road with a lot of heavy goods traffic. We don't recommend cycling this section; if you really want to climb Cuitu Negru, it is better to park your car at Puerto de Pajares next to the turn to Branillín. Once you have left the main road, heading towards Branillín, the traffic almost completely disappears.
Cuitu Negru immediately became a fans favourite when it was first used in the Vuelta a España in 2012, during a stage won by Dario Cataldo. The Vuelta climbed it via the Puerto de Pajares, which, unfortunately for us, carries too much traffic to really enjoy. Cuitu Negru is also busy from the south side, but it once you turn off the busy N-630 it becomes very quiet and a genuine battle between cyclist and gradients.
Despite the hype, Cuitu Negru is no Angliru. The final 3km are very steep and have tough pitches, but it is not as long or sustained as the toughest climbs. The road is also wide enough that you can zig-zag across to earn some respite if required.
Although not the toughest climbing in Spain, the final 3km of Cuitu Negru are beautiful, perched on the border of Asturias and León. If it was not for the traffic in the first part of the climb; this would be worthy of at least a **** rating.
Cuitu Negru is a ski resort and so the road is usually cleared in winter. It can be bitterly cold at this time of year though, so we would recommend climbing it from May to October.
Other sidesCuitu Negru can be climbed from the north, via the Puerto de Pajares.
Nearby ClimbsLa Cubilla