Climbs and mountains is where the Colombian riders rose to prominence in the cycling world, as much as they are the defining elements of the Tour of the Alps (April 16th-20th, 2018), the international cycling event that has taken over from the Giro del Trentino. Miguel Ángel López will be one of the men to watch at the start of the Euro-regional stage race in Arco (Trentino), on Monday April 16th. The new Colombian “golden boy” will try to earn a spot among the superstars of the sport, and the Tour of the Alps represents his final testing ground in view of his Giro d’Italia bid.
Overall winner of the 2014 Tour de l’Avenir and 2016 Tour de Suisse, and two-time stage winner in the last Vuelta a España, the 23-year-old hailing from the Boyacá region, the same of Nairo Quintana, earned the role as GT leader at Team Astana after the transfer of Italian Fabio Aru (another top rider of the 2018 Tour of the Alps) to UAE Team Emirates. “I like the Tour of the Alps, a beautiful race that represents an ideal springboard for the Giro d’Italia – Miguel Ángel López said. – All the stages are very demanding, suited to climbers like me: I should find ideal ground to give my best”.
A Colombian winner is still missing in Tour of the Alps’ roll of honor, and Miguel Ángel López hopes to become the first in 2018. For the Astana leader there is an additional motivating factor: “The Tour of the Alps was the last race of Michele Scarponi. Michele was a great person, we miss him a lot and the team will always remember him – the Astana’s Colombian explained. – Michele was a great friend and a special mentor in cycling: I learned a lot from him, I would like to dedicate a Tour of the Alps stage win to him, in the race where he raised his arms one last time.”
Astana’s Sports Director Giuseppe Martinelli supported the ambitions of the Colombian. In his career in the team car, Martinelli sealed the Giro del Trentino-Giro d’Italia in three occasions – with Gilberto Simoni (2003), Damiano Cunego (2004) and Vincenzo Nibali (2013). “As usual for us, we have chosen the Tour of the Alps as final test for the line-up that will race the Giro d’Italia with the goal to contest the overall success: after all, the strongest riders at the Tour of the Alps always prove to be highly competitive at the Giro d’Italia”.
“The race’s route is very tough and a climb like Alpe di Pampeago represents a decisive test, – Martinelli continued. – “We will be up to the challenge. We will take part in the race with a line-up mainly made by climbers, with athletes like Kangert and Zeits in support of the leader. This race is suited to Miguel’s skills, I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up on the overall podium in Innsbruck. On which step, we will see on the way.”