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Stage 755 – Ciudad Real to Fuente el Fresno

Yay! North by north east! Around The World is (finally) heading for Madrid. This might look like and uphill stage on paper, but that would be doing it a disservice. We give it climber status because it outnumbers the descent by around fifty feet, but this one’s a powerfest sporting way less than two hundred feet of ascent, of which most of it is after halfway so it leaves the impression of being uphill for sure. But having made a left turn on arrival in Ciudad Real right at the end of stage 754, this stage just keeps that trajectory going, albeit with a few twists and turns, for the whole stage. Toledo might yet miss out but Madrid’s definitely getting it.

The rollout along the N-401 is straightish and northish for two miles to the point where the railway that’s heading north out of Ciudad Real deviates right while the road deviates left. Both have shortly to cross the El Vicario Reservoir/Guadiana River but whereas the road goes for the jugular at the point where the river flows into the reservoir, the railway opts for river only, albeit a wide river crossing, a mile to the east.

The road descends to cross the reservoir, naturally, and having done so curves right to run along the eastern bank of the Becea river as it too flows into the reservoir. While the road’s next to the water, the terrain’s relatively flat, but that all changes at Peralvillo after six miles where the river’s much narrower on its way down from the north: it floods as it approaches the reservoir of course. The road runs a mile to the east of the river from this point on, both of them climbing uphill. The first (false) summit’s at seven miles ahead of a detour around the eastern (right) flank of Fernan Caballero after nine miles. The road then descends to the service station at Estacion de Servicio Petronor – Repsol at eleven miles and that marks the start of the next climb.

The road climbs initially to the outskirts of Malagon where just like Fernan Caballero before it, the highway scoots around the eastern side of the town on what amounts to a by-pass. The terrain is relatively flat on the way round town but that all changes on the far side where the N-401 highway begins the final climb of the day, and the longest by a distance. Indeed, you won’t be surprised to learn that the finish marks the highest point on the stage, the lowest having come earlier at the reservoir.

The run to the finish climbs for four miles, during which time is crosses the El Riachuela river and the Arroyo Cambron either side of seventeen miles. The finish itself is right in the heart of Fuente el Freson on the Avenida de Madrid approaching the junction with the Avenida Juan Carlos.

Distance: 20 miles / 32 kilometres

Ascent: 535 feet / 163 metres

RGT Magic Road: 9pxJSfVAQjJO

Total distance: 19.47 mi
Max elevation: 2144 ft
Min elevation: 1915 ft
Total climbing: 534 ft
Total descent: -385 ft

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