Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) claimed a second stage victory at La Vuelta 2017, on Sunday atop the alto Hoya de la Mora. The young Colombian dominated the last climb of an action-packed day to get back to Adam Yates (Orica-Scott) and solo away to victory ahead of Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Wilco Kelderman (Team Sunweb). Fifth of stage 15, Chris Froome (Team Sky) retains the red jersey and gains six seconds on Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) on the eve of the rest day. Lopez, who already became the 20th Colombian to win a La Vuelta stage, joins Felix Cardenas among the ‘Escarabajos’ victorious at la Sierra Nevada.
171 riders tackled one of the most anticipated and feared stages of La Vuelta 2017. After 35km 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.