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Race Results

Vuelta a San Juan: Miguel Ángel López strikes, Remco Evenepoel blows on Alto del Colorado

López takes control of GC as Evenepoel rues 'stupid move' after seeing blitzing early attack fizzle and fade.

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Miguel Ángel López stuck it to the WorldTour teams with a sizzler solo on the high altitude centerpiece of the Vuelta a San Juan.

López attacked early on the Alto del Colorado mountaintop finish Friday and fended off the chasers for his first major victory with his lowly Medellin EPM team.

Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) and Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe) followed in second and third, with Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) a close fourth for a mojo-boosting start to the returning star’s season.

World champion and pre-race favorite Remco Evenepoel (Soudal Quick-Step) was left ruing what he called a “stupid move” when he hit out early in the 18km Colorado grinder only to blow big style and finish more than one minute back.

López: ‘I don’t see this as a revenge’

López put a big ‘W’ in the results column on the Colorado climb.

López and his Conti-level Medellin team weren’t shy in a peloton stacked with WorldTour squads in San Juan’s “Queen Stage.”

The Colombian crew set the tone on the marathon-length summit finish before López launched himself to victory at around eight kilometers from the line.

The solo move gives the controversial climber a seven-second GC lead over Ganna heading into the Argentine tour’s two final sprinter-friendly stages.

López insisted there was no deeper symbolism behind his first elite-level victory since last spring and his controversial exit from Astana due to his links to a drug trafficing ring.

“I have to say thanks to Team Medellin for their trust and the great work done today. I’m coming from a difficult period, but I’m in the running so I have to thank the team for the opportunity and reward them as I can,” López said.

“I don’t see this as a revenge. I just like to attack, give battle and I’m here. Since the new year I’ve been focusing on this new entirely Colombian project, I’ve trained well and I’m trying to enjoy every race, the results come accordingly.”

Evenepoel: ‘I did a stupid move’

Evenepoel hit out solo at 10km to go, was reeled in by the chasers, then dropped back further.

Defending San Juan champion Evenepoel drops to 1:19 back on classification after a full-gas attack some 10km from the line fizzled, fast.

“I did a stupid move, because in the end, I went for one minute at full gas and then I tried to keep a high speed. But I was alone, so I should have stopped riding immediately,” he said.

Evenepoel lasted out front for just two kilometers before the wheels came off what looked to be the start of one of the 23-year-old’s characteristic bombastic solos.

The group of López and co. came across to the rainbow jersey-clad leader and promptly spat him out the back.

“In the end, it’s better to make a mistake like that now than in the Giro,” Evenpoel rued, referring to his A-race grand tour of the year.

Friday’s stage to Alto del Colorado also – perhaps fittingly – saw three U.S. riders slot into 9th, 10th and 11th places. Kevin Vermaercke (DSM), Quinn Simmons (Trek Segafredo), and Matthew Riccitello (Israel Premier Tech) hit the line around 70-90 seconds back on López.

Vuelta a San Juan resumes Saturday with a flat finish into Velódromo Vicente Chancay.

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