Miguel Angel Lopez crashed and broke three teeth on stage 3 of the Vuelta a Espana, but was able to continue his debut grand tour the following day. On the morning of stage 5, 22-year-old Lopez was sporting bandages on his face and body but the following day the bandages only remained on his left leg.
Lopez's overall aspirations had taken a hit from his stage 3 crash to Astana without a rider for the overall, 12-months on from starting the race the triumvirate of Vincenzo Nibali, Mikel Landa and eventual winner Fabio Aru.
A crash inside the opening 50km of stage 6 proved to be the final straw for Lopez, who was joined by Sébastien Minard (AG2R La Mondiale) in abandoning the race on stage 6 to Luintra.
"The Miguel Angel Lopez abandon is a bad shot for the whole team, but is part of the risks of this work," sport director Dmitri Sedoun said.
While there was disappointment in losing Lopez, with Luis Leon Sanchez placing second on the stage, the team demonstrated it is capable of changing focus to hunting stage wins.
"Yesterday fourth, today second - said Luis Leon Sanchez - I'm getting closer to victory, I hope will come soon," Sanchez said. "Every stage the peloton is going very fast - he added - I hope to recover at best and try to win a stage.
"We had bad luck with Miguel Ángel [López] heading home but we have to keep on trying. As a team we have to be great as we won the Giro and we were fighting at the Tour with Fabio Aru. Here we have to do the best we can. "
Michele Scarponi is Astana's best placed rider on the general classification in 16th place, 2:17 minutes down on Darwin Atapuma (BMC).
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