photo credits @ La Vuelta
Miguel Angel Lopez climbed his way to glory in the Vuelta a Espana today, after the Astana rider triumphed over his rivals atop the Alto Hoya de la Mora.
Lopez attacked out of the peloton with 26 kilometers to go to, subsequently vanquishing any attempts by Ilnur Zakarin (Team Katusha-Alpecin) and Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) to catch him along the summit finish of the Alto Hoya de la Mora.
Meanwhile, race leader Chris Froome held-on to finish in fifth place, and retain his grip on the overall classification, at just over a minute on Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida).
171 riders tackled one of the most anticipated and feared stages of this year’s Vuelta a Espana.
After 35 kilometers of hard battle, eight riders managed to move clear off the peloton: Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo), Matteo Trentin (Quick Step), Nelson Oliveira (Movistar), Tom Van Asbroeck (Cannondale-Drapac), Sander Armée (Lotto-Soudal), Anthony Perez, Stéphane Rossetto (Cofidis) and Lluis Mas (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA). They had already covered 51km after one hour and quickly tackled the first climb of the day. Led by Astana, the peloton was only 2 minutes behind them.
Sander Armée proved himself to be the strongest climber of the break in the alto de Hazallanas. Adam Yates (Orica-Scott), Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) enjoyed the steepest slopes to attack from the bunch 60km away from the finish. They summited with a delay of 1’15” and caught Armée at the bottom of the Alto del Purche, with 27.5km to go.
Adam Yates quickly got away from the rest of the attackers while Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) jumped ahead of the bunch. Yates maintained a 1’15” during most of the alto Hoya de la Mora but he couldn’t resist when Lopez attacked 5km away from the summit, bridged the gap and soloed away to victory.
Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) attacked with 13.5km to go. But Team Sky controlled the day until a very late move from Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin), who finished 9″ ahead of Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb) and 11” ahead of Chris Froome (Team Sky). Froome even gained 6” on Nibali to retain the red jersey on the eve of the second rest day.
1. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana Pro Team, 3h34’51”
2. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha-Alpecin, +36”
3. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, +45”
4. Esteban Chaves (Col) ORICA-SCOTT, +47”
5. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, same time
1. Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 62h’06’25”
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Bahrain Merida, +1’01”
3. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) Team Katusha-Alpecin, +2’08”
4. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Team Sunweb, +2’11”
5. Esteban Chaves (Col) ORICA-SCOTT, +2’39″
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