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Stage 70 – Novosokolniki to Kriplyanka

Stage 48 from Chorzele to Myszyniec in Poland may have had more feet of climbing, but stage 70 has it beaten in terms of terms of challenge and difficulty. This stage is a brute because of the way it creeps up on you. It’s both physically and mentally demanding.

It climbs straight from the off, not noticeably at first, but as the miles tick on, so does the gradient. What captures your focus is the lump on the elevation profile at seven miles. When I cycled the prototype stage, that lump was almost 17%, and no cyclist on RGT enjoys gradients of that severity. So in the production version, I’ve extended the length of the climb by a quarter of a mile, and taken out some of the ‘heat’: but it remains a significant challenge, particularly as it’s followed almost immediately by a much longer but slightly less arduous ascent. In essence, the whole climb extends from the first mile to the tenth, although the most challenging section is the three miles beginning at mile seven.

Going back to mile four, the road crosses the main railway line from Minsk in Belarus to St Petersburg: you’re still in the relative flat lands at that point. Immediately after the crossing is a major road interchange linking Novosokolniki with the road south to Otradnoe and beyond.

Once you’re well into the descent off the main summit, you arrive at a second major interchange, this time linking the town of Velikyie Luki to the north with Belarus to the south and Moscow to the east (that’s the road that we are on). You cross another main road, the 58K-032, from Velikyie Luki to Zadezha and ultimately into eastern Belarus, at the lowest elevation of the day at twenty one miles.

At this point you need to be physically and mentally switched on. There’s a short climb to Pershino at twenty miles, followed by an equally short descent, before the road kicks up to the finish. You can lose heaps of time riding up to the line if your legs are gone, and given all that has gone before, this is actually a fitting end to a difficult day in the saddle.

Distance: 25 miles / 40 kilometres

Ascent: 1093 feet / 333 metres

RGT Magic Road: s6xl07NDr0k4

Total distance: 24.52 mi
Max elevation: 1409 ft
Min elevation: 704 ft
Total climbing: 1092 ft
Total descent: -1137 ft

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