Maybe Olive Oil Instead of Wine?
Friday’s stage is all climbing, with the Cat 3 Puerto de Blancares popping up about halfway through the ride. That is followed by more, ever-steepening undulations and a sprint just before the mile-high ascent to the finish atop Alto de Capileira, at the southern edge of the Sierra Nevada. This summit finish, new to the Vuelta this year, rises almost 20 km at an average grade of 5%, with the second part of… the climb growing steeper still! Obviously this is a day for the climbers to seize the spotlight, as most everyone else will not find the juice worth the squeeze.
Jódar, our jumping-off point today, is a hot-climate agricultural area famous for its extra-virgin olive oil, which some claim to be the best in the world. By the end of the race, we find a literal oasis in the hills outside Granada, where melting mountain snows provide life and sustenance to a wide array of crops.
La Alpujarra is one of about 50 villages that provided safe haven for Spanish Muslims (Moors) fleeing the forces of the Reconquista after they sacked Granada in 1492, and forced all Moors to convert to Christianity. The villages still display much of the Berber influence of these early times, and are a great place to camp and hike. Check out the short video about the area, below.