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Miguel Ángel López, second at Milano-Torino this week, will not be lining up at Giro di Lombardia despite showing some top form in Italy.
“We close out the season here and say goodbye to the great season we’ve made this year,” López told Cycling Pro Net.
“I wish the team luck in these last two races in Italy,” López said. “It was my last race of the season and I would have liked to have finished with the win.”
On paper, López would be one of the favorites for the season-closing monument in northern Italy on Saturday. López, however, decided to end his season Wednesday. Astana will rally around Jakob Fuglsang, Omar Fraile and Luis León Sánchez for Saturday’s Lombardia.
“[López] decided he wanted to go home,” Fulgsang told Cycling Pro Net at the finish line Wednesday. “The shape is good but my weight is a little too high for this type of climb. I’m still competitive and that’s the most important. It’s a race that I like a lot so I hope to be there Saturday.”
With his early exit, López closes out another steady and consistent 2018 season. He won three races — stages at Burgos, Oman and Tour of the Alps — and finished third in both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.
That doesn’t mean Lombardia will not see a competitive and deep field. Joining Pinot will be recently crowned world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who is hoping to close out the season with a big win in the rainbow jersey.
“We’ll see what happens Saturday,” said Valverde, who was third at Milano-Torino. “It’s a race I really like and I’ve been close to winning before. Let’s see if the legs respond.”
Worlds runner-up Romain Bardet (Ag2r La Mondiale) and bronze medalist Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac), as well as Alessandro De Marchi (BMC Racing), are also on form. Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) and Egan Bernal (Sky) round out a deep start list for Saturday’s Italian closer.