As the route of Around The World slides past the eastern suburbs of Madrid, the attention now refocuses on the long term objective of the French border, and with it the challenge of the Pyrenees mountains. At the end of such a long journey, it’s important to minimise the amount of climbing and that probably favours crossing the Pyronees near to the Bay of Biscay. Stage 761 is a climber but that’s only by virtue of a big climb straight out of the gate: this is one of those stages where most of the hard work is done by halfway which is always nice.
The rollout from Los Villares, north of Arganda del Rey and east of Madrid, is immediately uphill as the introduction suggested. After a couple of early roundabouts, the M-300 crosses over the main R-3 autoroute before setting sail on a route that tacks north/north east through the small community of Valducar y Valdegatos en route to Loeches. The climb tops out as the road approaches southern Loeches, having ascended just over three hundred feet in five miles. The summit is the highest elevation of the stage.
Beyond Loeches, the road splits left and right. Whereas the M-300 takes the right fork, the ATW route takes the left fork and proceeds downhill along the M-206 past Cantos Azules and Prodo Concejil. The first encounter with water comes after seven miles when the road crosses the Arroyo de Pantuena which is flowing right to left under the road. The highway rises again for a mile after the river but descends again from miles eight to nine where the route achieves the lowest elevation of the stage. At the foot of the descent, the M-206 gives way to the M-203 at a roundabout where the route hangs a right.
The remaining eight miles of the stage are gently uphill but rather than being a slog, it’s just a general cruise at a minimal gradient. The road hangs a right, back onto the M-300 at twelve miles and that’s followed by a second right hander at the next major junction a mile later. That sets up a looping end to the stage as the road curves left around the districts of Los Gorriones, Reyes Catolicos, La Riconada and Venecia on the left, and Nueva Riconada and Nueva Alcala on the right. The finish of the stage is just after the major intersection near to the Ciudad Deportiva Municipal El Val where five roads come together at what is quite a complex junction.
Distance: 17 miles / 27 kilometres
Ascent: 633 feet / 193 metres
RGT Magic Road: AhgsQVyz02TT
Max elevation: 2116 ft
Min elevation: 1794 ft
Total climbing: 624 ft
Total descent: -568 ft