After a strong work of entire Astana Pro Team, Lopez has attacked on the hardest part of the third climb Puerto de la Morcuera with around 60 km to go. The Astana leader went solo, getting a 30-second gap on the top of the climb, where he caught Omar Fraile, who provided Miguel Angel a very good help on the descent and on the first kilometers of the last climb Puerto de Cotos.
However, a group of the red jersey caught the Astana rider back. It did not stop Lopez as he continued attacking again and again. Finally, he went away together with Primoz Roglic, Alejandro Valverde and Rafal Majka, dropping two dangerous rivals, Nairo Quintana and Tadej Pogacar.
All the final part of the stage Miguel Angel Lopez worked on the first position of his group pushing as hard as he could. In the end of the day, he won 59 seconds on Quintana and Pogacar, finishing 5th at the stage, 17 seconds behind the solo winner Sergio Higuita.
- We started this stage with a goal to do it as hard as possible and to gain time on my rivals. We aimed to do a war on the road, and I think, that we succeeded. I thank my team for support today, I’ve got a good position for attack on the third climb. I did a good move on Morcuera, but when I was caught back, I just kept on attacking more and more. I tried again and again, don’t how, how many times I attacked, but in the end, I went away in a small group, dropping some of my rivals. I knew, I had to count on myself only, so I pushed and pushed on the first position in the group, trying to get as much time as possible. Well, I gained some seconds and now I am fourth in the general classification, taking back the white jersey. However, nothing is done yet in La Vuelta, there are two stages until Sunday. Firstly, I have to rest and to recover after today’s huge effort. We will see how the things will go on at tomorrow’s stage before coming into the last hard mountain stage on Saturday. I know, that we have to keep on fighting to reach the maximal result in this race, - said Miguel Angel Lopez.
The Slovenian Primoz Roglic still leads in the general classification of La Vuelta, having 2.50 on Valverde, 3.31 on Quintana and 4.17 on Miguel Angel Lopez.
Stage 19 will be held tomorrow: it will be a hilly route from Avila to Toledo with a total distance of 165.2 km.
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