56º Giro Ciclístico Valle d´Aosta
Stage 4: Orsières – Champex-Lac (128 km)
Almost 4,500 metres of positive slope over 128 kilometres in which five climbs had to be climbed in order to qualify for the mountain Grand Prix. This is the summary of this Saturday’s stage in the Giro del Valle de Aosta, entirely disputed in Switzerland and with victory for the Sevillian Juan Pedro López. The Andalusian cyclist of the Kometa Cycling Team, barely 24 hours after the success of his teammate Michel Ries, won a great mountain stage in which the continental formation of the Alberto Contador Foundation was again one of the great protagonists and climbed to first place in the general classification by teams of the race.
López accelerated in the last two hundred meters and managed to distance himself from Ethiopian Mulu Hailemichael (Dimension Data) and Colombian Santiago Buitrago (Cinelli), with whom he had reached the final kilometer of this demanding climb to Champex-Lac. Michel Ries, seventh after riding in the leader’s group, and Stefano Oldani, tenth, rounded off the great performance of the Kometa Cycling Team. All three are within the top fifteen of a general in which the Belgian Mauri Vansevenant (EFC) remains at the front: Lopez, Ries and Oldani are sixth, eleventh and fourteenth respectively.
On another day marked by numerous movements, the passage through the tremendous Col du Lein generated a small revolution in the race. Juan Pedro López would end up on his ramps reaching a group of six units that was leading at the time with 50 seconds over the group leader, in which were his teammates Michel Ries and Stefano Oldani. Lebrija’s would manage to avoid a new confusion in the marking of the route and remain at the forefront of the stage facing the demanding Col des Planches, where he was accompanied by Hailemichael, Vansevenant and José Félix Parra (Lizarte). After the descent, already in the final climb, within the last ten kilometres López and Hailemichael would stand out, with a minute and a half of margin over a group of the leader, with Ries present, in which several attacks took place. López managed well the yields and even the subsequent arrival from behind Santiago Buitrago, although he felt on a couple of occasions the forces of Hailemichael.
“I still don’t believe it”, says López after achieving his first victory as a professional and the second victory of the Kometa Cycling Team this season. “Yesterday was a very hard stage, we got a good beating and I didn’t know how my legs would respond today. But the truth is that I felt very strong. The climbs were very hard, very demanding, and he has gone full all day again, but as the kilometers have passed I continued to feel good. At the end I was clear that we were going to arrive, but I wanted to try to leave the Ethiopian before. He responded well. I only had some doubts when the Colombian came from behind, so I chose to start with all my strength and, look, in the end I was able to take this victory so important for everyone”.
Dario Andriotto, director of the Kometa Cycling Team in the Italian race: “Cycling has these things: many times we have been resisted the victory this season and have finished two in a row. It was a great day again for the team, which is very keen to fight for the partial victories. Juan Pedro has been fabulous. The stage was really very difficult, with three very, very hard climbs. He read the race very well and didn’t get nervous when he tried to leave Hailemichael in the last kilometers or when the Colombian ended up coming from behind”.
The Giro del Valle de Aosta will conclude this Sunday with a 120-kilometre stage that will link Valtournenche and the Breuil Cervinia winter resort, at an altitude of more than 2,000 metres and after almost thirty kilometres of prolonged climbing.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)