Alto de los Machucos

Arredondo, Spain

The Alto de los Machucos is a col with a length of 6.3 kilometer. This is a category 1 col. It is located in Arredondo, Cantabria, Spain. The average grade of this col is 11.1% with a maximum of 23%. The Alto de los Machucos ascents from 271 meter at the start, to 905 meter at the top, with a total of 648 ascending meters.


Alto de los Machucos Profile


Distance 6.3 km
Elevation gain 648 m
Average grade 11.1 %
Maximum grade 23 %
Climb category 1
Minimum elevation 271 m
Maximum elevation 905 m

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When they once decided to asphalt ''Los Machucos'', they soon found out that, thanks to gravity, there was a limit to straight-up asphalting. After about three meters of rolling, the roller spontaneously started to roll backward and then it was decided to empty a concrete wagon from the top towards the valley. This resulted in a concrete strip of only about eight kilometers, but that reaches straight to the sky.

The monument at the top of the climb is dedicated to the Pasiega cattle, the type of cow that is bred in the Pas Valley of the Cantabrian region.

For the first time climbed in the 17th stage of the Vuelta a España. On that day Austria's Stefan Denifl (Aqua Blue Sport) won the stage with a brave solo move from the break of the day. Chris Froome (Team Sky) was forced onto the defensive on the steep slopes of the Alto de los Machucos as he struggled to handle the double-digit gradient of the narrow cow track and was dropped by all his overall rivals. The riders were forced to use tiny gears on the 20% sections of road, with 34 or 36 tooth front chainrings and rear cogs of 30 or even 32 teeth. The rutted concrete track and tight hairpins meant they needed every tooth.

From this town of Arredondo, Los Machucos has a length of 13.6 kilometers, although the hardest part is found from the municipality of Bustablado, which is where the real hell begins. The next 6.9 km have ramps that exceed 20% and are the hardest part of the climb. In the final part of the ascent, it softens quite a bit and there is even a section with a negative slope.

In 2019, Roglič and Pogačar joined forces to climb the mountain, initially following only Alejandro Valverde. In the end, the world champion was also shaken off and Roglič climbed together in the wheel of the very young Pogačar, after which the youngster of UAE Emirates could take the victory.

- Vuelta a Espana 2017 - Stage 17
- Vuelta a Espana 2019 - Stage 13