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Stage 741 – Escusa to Pavia

Hmm: south east! I wasn’t quite expecting that. Madrid, the next major city milestone, lies north east as the crow flies from the end of stage 740 to Paris but 741 heads east/south east instead, which suggests it’s making for the Spanish border at Badjoz. All will be revealed in the next couple of stages. This one’s a climber, and the worst kind of climber too, with most of the payload being at the back end of the stage.

The rollout is flat but lumpy for three miles as Route EN251 tracks the Canal do Sorraia through Courelas da Catela to the point where the canal crosses under the road from right to left. The road then begins a gentle climb through Couco, with Lagiocos on the right before the town and Barroca on the right after, and with Santa Juta on the left beyond the Rio Sorraia river.

At eight miles, after crossing from the Santarem District to the Evora District, the gradient increases at the reservoir that hosts the Furadouro Dam which is located on the Raia river, near Mora next to the road. The reservoir raises water from the Raia River to the Sorraia Canal for the irrigation of the surrounding area of the Sorraia Valley. The Raia River flows into the eastern end of the reservoir from the hills beyond, and they form the bulk of the challenge as the road passes through Ladeiras Boavista, Mora and Foros de Mora in quick succession between miles eleven and fourteen.

As the road continues to climb after Foros de Mora, it becomes ever more twisty as it navigates its way up the hillside, crossing a stream at fourteen miles before passing by at a small lake on the left a mile later. After the lake, where the road hangs a right to swing back to a south easterly tack, the climb flattens out and the road just assumes a lumpy profile through to the left hander at twenty miles where small bunches of water adorn the countryside left and right.

As the N251 hangs a right into Pavia, it begins to climb again and when the route arrives at the church of Ermida de Santo Antonio, it hangs a left onto the ER370 north to the finish the stage on the outskirts of the town.

Distance: 22 miles / 35 kilometres

Ascent: 902 feet / 275 metres

RGT Magic Road: G64It3mMPTLT

Total distance: 21.51 mi
Max elevation: 675 ft
Min elevation: 232 ft
Total climbing: 902 ft
Total descent: -474 ft

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