The Alto de L'Angliru in the Asturias region of North Western Spain is arguably one of the toughest climbs in road cycling.
First introduced into the Vuelta a España in 1999, the organisers hoped it would rival the famous Tour de France climbs of Alpe d'Huez and Mount Ventoux. Bradley Wiggins, wearing the leaders jersey, struggled on the Angliru in the 2011 Vuelta as the road kicked up to a gradient of a little under 24% and was unable to respond to a strong attack by the Spanish rider Juan Jose Cobo, who went on to take the Vuelta title. This was an episode that illustrated that the Angliru, like all the iconic climbs, could impact on the GC classifications.
Fellow British cyclist David Millar, riding the Angliru in atrociously wet conditions in 2002 and having already fallen from his bike three times, famously threw down his bike as he neared the finishing line and withdrew from the race in protest. Millar's actions prompted race director Enrique Franco to defend the inclusion of the climb: "The Vuelta without the Angliru is like a five-kilometre marathon or a 15-minute football match."
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