Astana’s rider attacked from the leading group with 4,2 km to the top of Jebel Hafeet, the last climb of the final 5th stage of the Abu Dhabi Tour. Lopez was leading the race for 2 km, while later the Spaniard Alejandro Valverde was able to bridge to him. The riders have arrived together at the finish: Valverde was faster in sprint, taking the stage win as well as the final general classification. Miguel Angel Lopez did his best, but finished second at the stage, and this result was enough to hit the podium of the Abu Dhabi Tour.
- It was an attack to win the stage, but later Valverde bridged to me and inside the final km there was not any space to do something. I did my best in this race and, finally, I am happy, I reached the podium and won the white jersey of the best young rider. My form is growing day by day, I hope to improve more for the next races, - said Miguel Angel Lopez.
The queen stage 5 of the race started in Qasr Al Muwaiji and finished after 199 km of racing on the top of a 10,8 km climb Jebel Hafeet. Astana Team did a very strong work, bringing the daily breakaway back and increasing the pace of the race on the bottom of the final climb. Dario Cataldo, Davide Villella and Jesper Hansen moved up in front of the peloton to make a huge selection in the group. With 5,6 km to go Miguel Angel Lopez made an attack together with Alejandro Valverde and Julian Alaphilippe, but later this attack was neutralized by the others. Another strong move came from the side of Astana leader with around 4 km, when he launched a powerful attack, immediately getting a gap of 10-15 seconds. The only rider, who could answer this move, was Valverde, who caught Lopez with 1,8 km to go.
Two riders tried to increase their lead over their rivals and in the final Valverde took the stage, outsprinting Miguel Angel Lopez. Anyway, a decisive attack and a hard work in front of the race inside the final 4 kilometers brought Astana Team’s captain the final third podium place in the general classification of the Abu Dhabi Tour.
- Of course, we wanted to win today, especially because we were ready and the team was super motivated. Miguel Angel did everything almost ideal and only Valverde could follow him. On the climb our team did a fantastic job and we’ve made a huge selection, so when Lopez attacked, nobody could answer to his move. Yeah, maybe with a bit bigger gap, Miguel Angel could hold his advantage until the finish, but anyway, it was a great ride for him and for our team. We can be happy, because the result, we showed in these races, says that we are on the right way, - added sports director Dmitri Sedoun.
For Miguel Angel this result is the second consecutive GC podium after his second place at the Tour of Oman. Besides, Lopez won another white jersey of the best young rider (a week ago he was the best young rider in Oman).
Photo credit: ©Bettiniphoto