Stage six is relatively short, but offers a challenging climb from the sea level to 750m height. The climb is divided into three parts connected by flatter portions. Particularly beautiful the passage through a small gorge. A small church white marks the end of the climb, followed by 10km descent, also divided in two parts.
Stage 7 at a first glance presents a single 44km long climb followed by a single long descent, in order to cross the White Mountains from South to North. At a closer look the climb can be divided in distinct sections. Shortly after the start in Sougia we reach the altitude of 500m above the sea level climbing with a constant gradient. Follows a 3km descent and a false plan. Another short descent leads to a second long uphill section, which brings to the altitude of 900m. On top of the dividing range is not yet time for descending, and we turn right towards the Omalos Plateau. Here the landscape suddenly reminds to the Alps, except that at each curve we can see alternatively the north and the south coast of Crete. After another shorter climb we cross the plateau towards the beginning of the Samaria gorge: it is the longest gorge in Europe. Back along the plateau we cross Omalos, and after a short climb we start the long and descent of the north side. The road is large, fast and particularly enjoyable in the first kilometres.
Stage 8 is my favourite, because it combines all the best that the isle of Crete has to offer: pristine rocky landscapes, scenic views of the coast line, a mix of all terrains including fast descends and long hard climbs. The start line is in Vryses, and it goes immediately uphill, climbing for 15km with gentle gradient. After crossing the mountain range towards south, the subsequent descent represents one of the highlights of this stage. It gives the impression to jump in the blue water below at each hairpin. Once down, in Komitades, a sharp turn left introduces to a portion of mixed terrain, following the coast towards east. In Patsianos another sharp turn left introduces to an incredible climb, through a narrow road in Mars-like landscape. The gradient is very steep, with a large number of hairpins connecting short stretches. Once on top the climb turns into a false flat section, followed by a climb with a smoother gradient. The descent is initially very steep, but after a few undulated kilometres, it continues with a smoother downhill gradient. At this point there is only one climb left: shorter but quite challenging. The final descent is extremely fast and steep in its last km towards the village of Plakias, on the coast.
Stage 9 is the longest one. Leaving Plakias we follow the sea for a few km towards west, until a sharp turn right will lead to the first short but steep climb. Moving towards east we follow the coast line at an intermediate level with respect to the mountains in the back. In Asomatos we turn north and cross the small gorge of Kourtalioko. Right after, there is another short but steep climb towards Frati. Follows a short descent and a few km along a larger road. In Spili we will turn left, to start a longer climb, the third the day. The descent is divided into several sections, alternating a mixed terrain and other minor climbs until the village of Saktouria. From there a fast and steep descent leads us to the beach of Agios Pavlos. More mixed terrain follows, including a couple of minor climbs, and a longer section along a sand beaches. Eventually we will turn right to take the longest climb of the day. The descent will brings us back to the Gorge of Kourtaliko, that we ride for a few km in the opposite direction. In Asomatos we turn left and after a short descent we take a last short climb for the uphill finish at the monastery of Preveli.