Sierra de la Pandera

The Angliru of the south, the Sierra de la Pandera is a climb that is an absolute brute. It is situated like many of southern Spain’s climbs in a desolate, sun-baked location which is surprisingly hard to find.

This may have been the reason the Vuelta only discovered the instant classic climb in its 57th edition in 2002. It is no longer a secret climb only known to the local riders in the area but one to travel to for a chance to take on one of the Vuelta’s favourite climbs. 

The Climb in Detail

“Those green gates are the lid to a Pandora's box" - Mountain High

The Ascents

No fanfare, no warning and certainly no signpost herald the entrance to the Pandera. Technically, the two routes to its summit begin 21 kilometres apart on the A6060 linking Alcalá la Real and Jaén, in Valdepeñas de Jaén and Los Villares, but in practice the two approaches converge in a pincer movement to the foot of an 8.3-kilometre cul-de-sac then shared all the way to the top. Finding the point of their intersection is, just one of many challenges on the Pandera. From here the route has steep sections of 15% ramps but also small moments of rest before you start to glimpse at the Pandera summit and its aerial masts looming high above your head.


No longer a top-secret climb

Thanks to the Vuelta, it may no longer be the top-secret climb known only to Andalusians, but La Pandera retains a privacy and tranquillity that you may only find on the Muro di Sormano. Like the Muro, the Pandera is closed to motorized traffic, this only enhancing its standing as one of cycling’s new must-climb mountains.

Its place at the Vuelta a España

Your first thought at this point might be how or why on earth a professional bike race ever ended up here. Faced with increasing competition and falling television audiences, having unsheathed the Alto del Angliru in 1999, three years later Vuelta boss Cordero premiered his ‘Angliru of the south’, La Pandera. In 2002 Roberto Herras dominated the Pandera much like he did the Vuelta that year and since then the win has gone to the likes of Alejandro Valverde, Andréi Kashechkin, Damiano Cunego and Rafał Majka. 

"La Pandera is known as the southern Angliru due to its spirit-crushing steepness" - Vuelta Organisers

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