Astana Pro Team rider Miguel Angel Lopez did a strong and smart race and, as result, he moved up to the fourth place in the overall classification.
- What a stage! It was a tough day on the road. I felt good to stay with the best riders today and I am happy to gain time from some of my rivals and to move up in the general classification. I had the legs to stay in that group with Dumoulin, Pinot and Carapaz, but I did not see any possibility to attack them before the final climb. On the last climb I attacked for several times, trying to gain time on Pinot, but it did not work. In the end I missed just a little to arrive together with Carapaz, I lost a few seconds to him at the finish, but ok, I am still in the white jersey and I am happy with it. The stage like today showed that everyone could have a bad day. Someone lost today, someone could lose tomorrow, nobody knows… Tomorrow we will have another very hard day in the mountains. Today it went well for me, I could be satisfied with my performance, but now I hope to recover as well as possible to be ready for tomorrow. The white jersey is the main goal so far. Yes, I am close to the podium after this stage, but we will see if there will be a possibility to do something tomorrow, - said Miguel Angel Lopez.
Astana Pro Team tried to do an active race from the beginning, sending two riders, Luis Leon Sanchez and Davide Villella in a breakaway. Later, at the bottom of the iconic climb Colle delle Finestre (Cima Coppi of this edition) it was Luis Leon Sanchez, who went away for a solo break with around 40 seconds of advantage over the peloton.
The crucial moment in the race came after a forcing from the side of Team Sky, which increased the pace dramatically, making a huge selection in the main group. The pink jersey of the race Simon Yates was forced to give up, in the end of the day losing almost 40 minutes.
Chris Froome attacked from the leading group with 80 km to go, shortly getting a solid gap. The Britton has increased his advantage on the descent from Colle delle Finestre and showing some impressive time trial skills, finished alone, taking not only a stage win, but also the maglia rosa as the new GC leader.
A group of 5 riders (Tom Dumoulin, Thibaut Pinot, Richard Carapaz, Sebastien Reichenbach and Astana’s leader Miguel Angel Lopez) started chasing the solo leader, but finally, came to the finish 3 minutes after Froome.
Carapaz was able to sprint for second place, Pinot was third 7 seconds later, while Miguel Angel Lopez did 4th, losing 12 seconds to Carapaz.
Another Astana Team rider Pello Bilbao, who was in the second chasing group, finished 10th, 8 minutes 23 seconds behind stage leader.
With two stages to go and with only remained mountain stage Chris Froome is the new pink jersey with a 40-second advantage over Tom Dumoulin, seconds in the GC. Thibaut Pinot is third, 4 minutes 17 seconds behind Froome, while Miguel Angel Lopez is 4th now, +4.57 behind the leader and just 40 seconds far from the podium of the Giro d’Italia.
Also, Pello Bilbao did a step up to 7th position in the general classification (+11.08).
Lopez holds a 47-second advantage over Carapaz in the white jersey classification of the best young rider.
Stage 20 of the Giro d’Italia will be held tomorrow: 214 km from Susa to Cervinia with three first category climbs in the last 85 km. This stage will decide the winner of the maglia rosa in the 2018 Giro d’Italia.
Photo credit: ©Bettiniphoto