Just when you think you’ve seen it all, and suffered enough, along comes stage 98. You’re going to be tested five times, but none of the first four are in the same class as the final climb to the finish. If you have any aspirations about being in the lead group, you’d better prepare for some serious pain.
The rollout just east of Yuzhnyy is pretty straightforward, even if it is slight uphill for the first three miles: that’s just the warm up. There’s a sharp drop down to Vorotynets at four miles, which if you’ve been paying attention during the last few stages, means a river crossing. The river is the Gremyachka, which flows north into the Volga near to its junction with the Sura river. Inevitably, heading away from the river means a climb, and this one is quite severe, albeit short, and it peaks as you leave Voronyets.
Another descent leads to another river crossing, the Ognevka, just before Vostok at seven miles. All of these rivers are tributaries of the Volga. The next climb takes you to Sem’yany at nine miles before the river Sem’yanka awaits at ten miles. That’s followed by another steep climb, this time up to Nicol’skoye at the yellow kite, before a three mile descent takes you down to Belavka, and the river of the same name.
Now I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the next six miles are boring, because they’re not: they’re just flat as the road swings to the north east as it approaches Ivan’kovskoye. You cross the Sura river before you enter the town, approachijng down a short, sharp descent that’s gone before you know it: then it all kicks off. As I said at the top of the show, it you want a respectable finish, you’re going to have to pay for it in blood, sweat and tears. It’s less than two miles from the river crossing to the finish, but is carries a payload of 275ft (84m) of climbing. The stage finishes shortly before the climb flattens out on the approach to Sovkhoznyy, which probably indicates more climbing from the rollout of stage 99.
Distance: 24 miles / 38 kilometres
Ascent: 801 feet / 244 metres
RGT Magic Road: nS4gvvWPCTFH
Max elevation: 667 ft
Min elevation: 345 ft
Total climbing: 800 ft
Total descent: -582 ft
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