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Giro d’Italia. Vincenzo Nibali takes eighth place atop Blockhaus – Astana

Giro d’Italia. Vincenzo Nibali takes eighth place atop Blockhaus

A very hard mountain stage to Blockhaus has been held today at the Giro d’Italia: the riders passed 191 km with 5 categorized climbs, including the final ascent to a super tough Blockhaus.

Astana Qazaqstan Team spent a very active day: Joe Dombrowski was able to join the daily breakaway and became the last rider to be caught by the main group on the lowest slopes of Blockhaus, while team leader Vincenzo Nibali showed good legs, staying inside the GC contenders’ group almost until the finish and taking a solid eighth place.

“Well, I tried to do this climb in a regular rhythm, because my plan was to defend and not to attack. Today, together with the team we decided to try to keep strong during the day and to see, where I can reach at the end of the stage. Actually, the legs worked pretty well, and I felt maybe better than I was hoping for. It was a very hot day, maybe the first really hot day of this Giro, so many riders were suffering because of it. Also, the stage turned out to be a real challenge with D+ over 5000 meters, looks like many years passed since the Giro had a stage of 5000 meters of elevation. However, I think, it was a good stage for us, and now I am happy that we are heading into the rest day, which will bring us a possibility to recover a bit”, – said Vincenzo Nibali.

After Stage 9, won by Jai Hindley, Vincenzo Nibali moved up to 13th position, 3 minutes and 4 seconds behind the pink jersey Juan Pedro Lopez.

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astana-qazaqstan.com

Tour of the Alps. Miguel Angel Lopez wins atop Grossglockner – Astana

Tour of the Alps. Miguel Angel Lopez wins atop Grossglockner

The leader of Astana Qazaqstan Team Miguel Angel Lopez takes a beautiful solo win atop Kals am Grossglockner at Stage 4 of the Tour of the Alps. Lopez attacked from the peloton with some four kilometers to go; firstly, he caught the only remained rider from the earlier breakaway Thibault Pinot and later after a counterattack he went solo to take his first win of the season.

“It is a good day for me, but also for the whole team. We were looking for this success and now we get the confidence and motivation for the next goals. It was the only stage with an uphill final and, definitely, I was motivated to try something today. I stayed calmly in the main group while we had Sebastian and Fabio in the break, but when it became clear that it won’t reach the finish, I decided to attack. I made a powerful move, shortly getting a gap to the peloton. But until a moment I still was not sure if I can reach Thibault Pinot or not. He still was far away in front, but with some 2.5 kilometers to go I finally saw him in front, and in that moment I just gave my best to catch him and later to attack again”, – said Miguel Angel Lopez.

 

“I lived some good moments at the finish, and I wanted to deliver this success to Astana Qazaqstan Team, my home team where I returned this season and where I got a very warm welcome back. Also, I wanted to dedicate the win to my second child, who we are expecting with my wife soon. Alongside this by this victory I just wanted to remember our great champion Michele Scarponi who left us five years ago”, – continued Miguel Angel.

 

“Well, we arrived here with a goal to make the final step in our preparation to the Giro d’Italia, to feel the racing rhythm, to try different tactics and to try to win a stage. I believe we are spending a good week here at the Tour of the Alps, I feel like my form is growing and I am on the right way to the Giro”, – concluded Lopez.

Astana Qazaqstan Team was very active from the start: firstly, it was David De La Cruz who attacked for several times for a breakaway, and in a moment he found himself in a group of eleven riders. When this group has been caught back, Fabio Felline and Sebastian Henao made another move, which brought them to another group of escapers.

After a crash Fabio Felline came back to the peloton, where he provided some help to Miguel Angel Lopez, while Sebastian Henao still was fighting for a stage win until the final six kilometers, when the peloton neutralized his breakaway.

There was still a rider in front of the race – Thibault Pinot, but he could not resist under a super strong attack of Miguel Angel Lopez, who won today’s Stage 4.

“We had two options for this stage and at the meeting before start we decided that it is better if Miguel Angel stays in the peloton for the final, while some other riders would try to do something in the break. I think our team did a great stage with David De La Cruz and later with Fabio Felline and Sebastian Henao, who worked hard and fought for a stage win. Well, at the end of the day it did not work, but we still had our leader Miguel Angel Lopez, who was ready to attack on the final climb. It was a perfect move; he was unstoppable today. We all are really happy with this long-awaited victory, and it brings us some good motivation and inspiration ahead of the Giro d’Italia”, – said Alexandr Shefer, Sports Director of Astana Qazaqstan Team.

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astana-qazaqstan.com

Volta ao Algarve. Samuele Battistella second atop Alto da Fóia – Astana

Volta ao Algarve. Samuele Battistella second atop Alto da Fóia

Astana Qazaqstan Team’s Samuele Battistella sprinted to a second place in the uphill finish of Stage 2 of the Volta ao Algarve. Some 20 riders arrived at the top after the final 7.5 kilometer climb. Hayter and Battistella started the sprint but were passed in a last move by David Gaudu, who took the stage and the leader’s jersey.

“The final 7.5-kilometer uphill were not so steep. My plan was to try to stay in the wheels and to sprint. I made a mistake and started my sprint too early, with 300 meters to go. With that head wind, that was really too early. The legs were blown up when we approached the finish line. In earlier sprints, I’ve started often too late and was then boxed in, that’s why I decided already this morning to start the sprint first. Unfortunately”, – explained Samuele Battistella.

Battistella is 12th in the General Classification now, 29 seconds behind the new yellow jersey David Gaudu.

“I have no GC ambitions any more after my 28 seconds loss due to yesterday’s crash at 12 kilometers from the finish, but the legs are good. We can still do something the coming stages”,– concluded Samuele Battistella.

Photo credit: @Gettysport

— Vitalii to www.astana-qazaqstan.com

La Vuelta. Stage 6 Aleksandr Vlasov takes a solid fourth place atop Alto de Cullera – Astana

La Vuelta. Stage 6 Aleksandr Vlasov takes a solid fourth place atop Alto de Cullera

Astana – Premier Tech leader Aleksandr Vlasov showed a brave and solid race on the sixth stage of La Vuelta with the finish atop the two-kilometer-long steep climb Alto de la Montaña de Cullera. Vlasov was part of the leading group of GC contenders, firstly moving in front inside the final kilometer of a super steep and explosive climb and later making a strong attack to try and catch the only remaining rider from the early breakaway and to win this stage. However, Magnus Cort, a rider from the break was able to hold on and take the victory, while Primoz Roglic and Andrea Bagioli both were able to close the gap, opened by Vlasov, and to pass him right before the finish line. Thus, Aleksandr finished fourth today and thanks to this result, he moved up to sixth position in the General Classification.

“Today I felt quite good and in general I think my form is getting better day by day. The stage was a really hard one, very fast and also the wind in the final made it even harder. But my teammates did a great job to bring me to the front group after the peloton split in parts and later, I got some important help while we were heading into the final climb. I was in a good position and I just tried to follow the first riders. Inside the final kilometer I tried to attack by myself and I think it was a good move, but at the end we couldn’t catch the last rider from the break and I finished fourth. However, I am quite happy with this day and my form. Let’s see what will happen in the next stages”, – said Aleksandr Vlasov.

Stage 6 was characterized by hot weather and strong crosswinds in the final part of the stage, which impacted the race a lot, creating echelons on the final circuit in Cullera. The stage also saw many crashes with Oscar Rodriguez and Yuriy Natarov both involved in them. After a big battle at the start, five riders finally went away in the daily breakaway. Heading onto the final climb, the riders from the break still had a one-minute gap, but only Magnus Cort was able to survive and to keep his minimal advantage until the finish line.

Astana – Premier Tech worked really well all together today and the riders brought Aleksandr Vlasov and Alex Aranburu into a good position before the final climb. Alto de Cullera was a tough challenge for Aranburu, while Vlasov did an impressive ride all the way to the top, showing his improving form.

“The team did a great job today for Aleksandr and on the final climb he showed himself really well. It was a difficult stage for us, some riders were still suffering from yesterday’s crash, and also today we had Oscar Rodriguez and Yuriy Natarov both involved in a new crash. Fortunately they both finished the stage. There was a difficult moment in the crosswinds, but the team did everything in the best possible way, closing the gap and bringing Vlasov to the front. Well, we were aiming for a stage win today and Aleksandr was really close to it, but anyway he did a super race and it is a solid fourth place for him”, – said Dmitriy Fofonov, Team Performance Manager.

La Vuelta, Stage 6. Requena – Alto de la Montaña de Cullera, 158.3 km.

Stage Top-3: 1. Magnus Cort (EF Education – Nippo); 2. Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo – Visma); 3. Andrea Bagioli (Deceuninck – Quick Step); 4. Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana – Premier Tech)… 15. Alex Aranburu (Astana – Premier Tech).

Photo credit: @Chris Auld

— Vitalii to www.astana-qazaqstan.com