Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana Pro Team) claimed victory atop Alpe di Pampeago on stage 2 of the Tour of the Alps, out-kicking Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) and Ivan Sosa (Androni Gioccatoli-Sidermec), while his fellow countryman Sosa moved into the overall lead after an assured showing in elite company on the wickedly steep final climb.
Lopez proved the sharpest of an elite selection that formed in the final kilometre, and he delivered a vicious acceleration inside the final 100 metres to beat Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) to the line, while Sosa came home in third on the stage.
Chris Froome (Team Sky), who is racing despite his ongoing salbutamol case, kick-started the attacking in the finale with an acceleration beneath the flamme rouge. The Briton had appeared to struggle early on the climb, however, and seemed sluggish on the severe final ramps, where he had to settle for fourth, four seconds behind Sosa, while Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida) followed the Briton home in fifth.
Of the Giro d’Italia contenders on show in Trentino, Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates) again struggled the most. The Italian champion conceded 34 seconds in the closing kilometres to place 10th on the stage, though his podium finishes at the Giro came in the wake of underwhelming results beforehand.
The severity of the finale meant that the favourites waited until the cusp of the final kilometre before showing their hands. Froome, Pinot and Pozzovivo all attempted to punch their way clear in the final kilometre but were unable to shake off their rivals. Lopez signalled his intentions with an acceleration of his own 500 metres from home, and he secured stage victory with a well-timed effort within sight of the line.
Lopez dedicated his win to the late Michele Scarponi, who claimed the final victory of his career at this race a year ago. “I raised my arms in honour of Scarpa, a champion and a special man, someone we miss very much. He’ll always be in our hearts,” said Lopez, who will lead Astana at the forthcoming Giro. “After my training at altitude, I had good sensations. My teammates did great work and I couldn’t let them down in the sprint.”
How it unfolded
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