Put purely and simply, Sunday is crunch time for Colombia’s Miguel Angel López.
The winner of two immensely difficult mountain stages last year in the Vuelta a España, 'Superman' López is currently lying 12th overall in this year's race. In 2017 he finished eighth on the Vuelta’s final general classification.
But after his third place overall in the Giro d’Italia in May, a summit finish win in the Vuelta a Burgos this August, and then managing to drop most of the favourites on stage 4’s ascent to the Alto de Alfacar just a few days back, expectations for the Astana climber in the 2018 Vuelta a España are running much higher.
In a gung-ho mood after stage 8’s tense finale, in which he finished safely in the front group of 52 riders, López told Spanish television TVE that he's been "looking forward to it."
"These days we’ve had so far have been very stressful and very hot, and tomorrow’s mountains [stage 9] is very motivating for me," he said.
“We’ve been working well in the team, and up to now, we’ve been up there with the favourites. We hope that [Sunday] there won’t be any disappointments.”
López is one candidate to take red on Sunday, but he added that he was far from being the only one.
“At the moment, there are a lot of people who could take the lead, the Vuelta’s only just started,” he said. “But [Sunday] is where we’ll begin to see those who will go for the outright.”
Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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