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"I think those four riders have a place but as there will be five or six spots, I think I have a chance. I think a lot will depend on how I go during the season."

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ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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MIGUEL ANGEL LOPEZ

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05.01.2016 @ 18:40 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Miguel Angel Lopez is ready for his second season at Astana. The Colombian proved his huge potential in his first year at the pro level, culminating with a stage win at the Vuelta a Burgos and an overall top 10 at the Tour de Suisse. He is now ready for his grand tour debut at the Vuelta a Espana.

 

“I am already looking forward to 2016,” he told Spaziociclismo. “This will be my second season with the team and I am quieter and motivated. I think I had to learn to be with a new team with a lot of pressure during my first season. But now everything is different and there is greater confidence from the team and many objectives for the new year. 


”I think the hardest thing was the communication with the team because of the language. However, there are several riders who are experienced and speak Spanish, like [Luis Leon] Sanchez, [Dario] Cataldo, [Michele] Scarponi, [Paolo] Tiralongo and [Alessandro Vanotti who helped me a lot.”

 

Lopez suffered a lot from injuries in his debut season but whenever he was ready to race, he did extremely well.

 

“On a personal level I think, it was a difficult season, being the first year in a WorldTour team with a very hard calendar containing the most important races in cycling,” he says. “In the end, the year was still positive although I had some problems with my knee. I got a seventh place in the Tour de Suisse and in the Vuelta a Burgos I won a stage and the team time trial. I was fourth in the overall standings and I came very close the overall victory of the Vuelta a Burgos. In Turkey, I was second in the queen stage and if I had taken that win, I would have had two victories in my first year.”

 

He has now set his sights on 2016.

 

“The goal for 2016 is to win a race,” he says. “It will not be easy but I will try. The minimum goal is to be in the top 10 in the races I will do.  

 

“My goal is to be in the top 10 in races like the Volta a Catalunyua, Vuelta al Pais Vasco and Tour de Suisse. If everything goes well, I hope to be at the start of the Vuelta a España and do a good race.

 

“However, it is still uncertain. We have to talk to the sports directors but they say it would be a good thing for me to participate in the Vuelta. I think it would be a wonderful thing and I will try all season to do my best because the Vuelta will be my big goal.


”The Vuelta is the third most important race in the world and all the riders are well prepared and with clear objectives. I believe that I have to go there in a quiet way as it is my first grand tour and I have to learn as I am still young. I would be satisfied if maybe I could win a stage.”

 

Another goal will be to get selected for the Olympics.

 

“Obviously I would not have the role of captain in the Colombian team but I continue to dream of being there and I believe there is a chance,” he says. “On paper, Quintana is the captain and then there's Rigoberto Uran who is a great rider. I also believe that Sergio Henao and Esteban Chaves who showed his talent in the Vuelta a España, will be selected. I think those four riders have a place but as there will be five or six spots, I think I have a chance. I think a lot will depend on how I go during the season.


“It would be great to do like Chaves in 2015. The goal is to do like him or something like that. It is difficult but not impossible and I have to prepare well.”

 

Lopez knows what will make it a successful season.


“I would like to have new experiences in 2016,” he says. “I want to win something and then maybe have a  beautiful experience in the Vuelta.”

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