By the end of this stage, the route is still as far south of Toledo and Madrid as it is at the start. But it’s also still west of them both. Just. By the finish of stage 753, the route is halfway across Spain going west to east without having ventured north at all: it is indeed going to be a Pythagoras job once the left turn comes about by the look of it. The reason for the ongoing eastern tack is to avoid the mountains in north central Spain but even in doing that there are some difficult climbs to overcome, and this stage plays host to one of them: indeed the middle of the stage is a bit of a beast.
The rollout is relatively calm as the N-430 follows the meandering Guadiana river but that changes once the road crosses the river after just a mile and a half. As the river carries on south, the road heads east, snaking its way left and right up the first climb of the stage. The summit, at eighteen hundred feet, comes as the highway comes off a sweeping left/right combination of bends high up on the hill after four miles. Interesting enough for a summit, the road crosses the Arroyo del Carbonal river at that point. On the descent, the road first crosses the Arroyo de Valzarzoso that flows down from the valley to the north after five miles, before the same thing happens a mile later where the Arroyo del Rosal de la Canada flows from the hills to the north east.
Having crossed the rivers in what amounted to respite in a valley at sixteen hundred feet, the road then starts the big climb of the stage in earnest, a five hundred foot climb to El Castano Airport and the highest elevation of the stage just after nine miles. Off the top, the descent is straighter than the climb, and is longer which means that the gradient is less steep. It’s also more lumpy so expect a couple of hiccups along the way.
The road is eventually reunited with the Guadiana river after twelve miles, the road on the left and the river on the right as both head east. They split up again at Luciana after fourteen miles by which time the terrain is almost flat. The river bends south while the road carries on east, but not before it has found the Rio Bullaque river and the road crosses it immediately after Luciana and indeed follows it up the steeply sided valley that follows the crossing.
There’s a very gentle rise in the last four miles but it’s nothing that will trouble the scorers and the stage ends in the middle of nowhere at a service station, the Asador Los Pucheros, on the approach to Piedrabuena.
Distance: 19 miles / 30 kilometres
Ascent: 971 feet / 296 metres
RGT Magic Road: Us6cCllCUday
Max elevation: 2126 ft
Min elevation: 1574 ft
Total climbing: 970 ft
Total descent: -799 ft