Lopez extends with Astana, to lead team in Giro d'Italia

Miguel Angel Lopez extended his contract with the Astana team through the 2020 season, and has been named as the squad's leader for the Giro d'Italia, the team announced today.

Lopez, 23, has only raced in two Grand Tours in his career: he dropped out of the 2016 Vuelta a Espana after a crash. Despite a delayed start to the season, Lopez this year won two stages in this year's Vuelta and finished eighth overall.

The Colombian was given the confidence of team manager Alexandre Vinokourov, who last month stated that Lopez would lead the team in a Grand Tour, but that they were waiting to see the routes of each race before deciding on the schedule.

"He has everything he needs to do so: talent, perseverance, fighting spirit, climbing skills and a strong time trial, he just needs time and experience," Vinokourov said last month to El Tiempo. "He already did the Vuelta a España, and, speaking of the Giro and the Tour, he has to try at least to make his debut in these races."

Jakob Fuglsang, 32, will lead the Astana team in the Tour de France, the squad confirmed on Twitter, averting the type of GC-leader conflicts seen at the Movistar and Sky teams.

The Danish rider had already announced his intention to Cyclingnews to focus on the Tour during the final race of the year, the Tour of Guangxi. "It looks interesting, it looks hard. For me, I think it can be a good Tour with the cobblestone stage," Fuglsang said then. "In general, I think the parcours can fit me quite well."

Fuglsang's best Tour de France finish came in 2013 when he was 7th overall. He won this year's Critérium du Dauphiné.

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