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Mauro Santambrogio was the BMC Racing Team's first rider to ascend the final climb. (BMC Racing Team photo.)
Mauro Santambrogio was the BMC Racing Team's first rider to ascend the final climb. (BMC Racing Team photo.)

Vuelta a España, Stage 16: The Final 200 Meters

3. September 2012

The talk of Monday's stage of the Vuelta a España was the extraordinarily steep, 200-meter climb at the end of the 183.5-kilometer stage.

Rider Reactions
Stage winner Dario Cataldo (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and his breakaway companion Thomas De Gendt (Vancansoleil-DCM) were first to tackle the road at the ski station of Cuitu Negru. Only recently paved, fans packed the 17-percent gradient climb to watch Joaquin Rodriguez (Katusha Team) take third and increase his overall lead heading into the race's second rest day. BMC Racing Team's Mauro Santambrogio, who was with the lead group until the final 15 km, shook his head when asked about the final stretch. "The last couple kilometers were very, very steep," he said. "It was unbelievable. There were lots of people, though, so I like finishes like that."

Other reactions from BMC Racing Team riders:

Brent Bookwalter, who used a 38-29 gearing combination:
"I wanted to jump off the side of the mountain. It was crazy stupid."

Klaas Lodewyck, who was involved in a crash during a descent but finished the stage:
"It's like it never ends. It's only 200 meters but it took forever. When you finally get up there, you're really happy."

Yannick Eijssen:
"I think it was the steepest part of a climb that I've ever done. It was really crazy."