Miguel Angel Lopez took possession of the Vuelta a Espana leader’s red jersey after yesterday’s fifth stage won by home hope Angel Madrazo. Lopez, known as ‘Superman’, heads the Vuelta general classification by 14 seconds from Primoz Roglic and 23sec from former winner Nairo Quintana after finishing fourth yesterday.
The 25-year-old has pulled clear of a group of contenders for overall victory including Spanish world champion Alejandro Valverde (fourth overall) three kilometres from the finish in Javalambre. “I had a good feeling and I wanted to capitalise on the right moment,” said Colombian Lopez, who is also the leader in the young riders’ classification.
“We are happy with the work we did today. We are feeling good and everything is going well.”
The day’s winner Madruzo, part of a three-pronged Spanish breakaway group, claimed the first ever Vuelta stage victory for Spanish team Burgos. In doing so he also consolidated his grip on the climbers’ standings.
“To win here is one of the biggest achievements as a cyclist and for me it’s become a dream come true,” said Madrazo, who burst into tears as he crossed the line for a huge win, his first in a Grand Tour. “We have suffered throughout the season. The team deserved it, this goes for the team.”
The 31-year-old’s win comes after he struggled to keep pace in the category one Javalambre climb before bursting through for a thrilling victory. Today sees the riders take on the hilly 199-kilometre sixth stage between Mora de Rubielos and the picturesque Valencian village of Ares del Maestrat, nestled at an altitude of 1,195 metres above sea level.
Thomas, Alaphilippe take on the Tour of Germany
Tour de France standouts Geraint Thomas and Julian Alaphilippe will go wheel to wheel at the Tour of Germany starting today. Thomas, the 2018 Tour de France winner, came in second in this year’s edition for Team Ineos and was pivotal in securing the win for his teammate, Egan Bernal.
Deceuninck Quick-Step’s Alaphilippe triggered hopes of a long-awaited French victory after spending 14 days in yellow in this years’s Tour. He eventually finished fifth, but not before winning ‘the most combative rider’ award.
Both riders opted to skip the Vuelta this year and have set their sights on tackling the Tour of Germany. A four stage race that starts in Hanover and ends in Erfut on Sunday, it kicks off with a stage suited to the sprinters before three more stages on hillier terrain.
In addition to Alaphilippe and Thomas, Vincenzo Nibali, Australia’s Richie Porte and local star Emanuel Buchmann will take part just one month away from the World Cycling Championships that will be held in Yorkshire, northern England.
Deceuninck Quick-Step manager Davide Bramati said: “We will have a strong team at the start, some of the guys will be back in the competition after a tough Tour de France, but they will have the same motivation as the rest of the team.”
This year’s route will pay tribute to the fall of the Berlin wall, marking its 30th anniversary in November. The course will crisscross the route of the former ‘Iron Curtain’, the formidable border which divided East and West Germany.
Last year, Slovenia’s Matej Mohoric won the event ahead of Germany’s Nils Politt and Maximilian Schachmann. Reintroduced in 2018, the race was abandoned for nearly a decade following a slew of doping scandals.
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