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"My first year with Astana has been pretty good. At first I missed a little confidence, but gradually I got it. Although I did not have very good continuity, I did good races."

Photo: Feltet.dk

ASTANA QAZAQSTAN TEAM

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MIGUEL ANGEL LOPEZ

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25.10.2015 @ 08:30 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The debut of the talented Miguel Angel Lopez at the pinnacle of world cycling was a combination of joys and disappointments. He showed his class in Turkey (second in the queen stage), Switzerland (fourth in the queen stage and seventh overall) and Burgos where he shone with a stage win and a stint in the lead. He lost out on overall victory on the last day but the most valuable lesson was to prove to himself that he is ready to challenge the best.

 

"My first year with Astana has been pretty good. At first I missed a little confidence, but gradually I got it,” he told the website of the Colombian Federation. “Although I did not have very good continuity, I did good races. In Switzerland I did very well, in Turkey I was among the best and I was great in Burgos. The team is very happy. At the start, I thought it would be very difficult to adapt to everything, but little by little I adapted. It was a wonderful year.”

 

The troubles occurred because of a fractured scaphoid that delayed his debut, and an overload in his right knee that kept him from having greater prominence during the year. "The knee problems cost me. For example, Tour of Catalonia, the Basque Country ... I am now recovering by doing physio work, getting shape and strength to start a good season in 2016. I think the problems we've had this year are left behind. Hopefully I will have good progression and do a great year," said Lopez who signed with Astana after obtaining the title at the 2014 Tour de L'Avenir.

 

The win in France opened the doors to the best races in the world. And it's not unjust. The results and the experience gained in 2015 makes him destined progression for next season and he has his eyes on the Olympics and the big races. "The chances at the Olympic are very good, the course favors us because it has enough mountains and the coach must select strong men. Everything depends on good timing in the coming year," said one of the riders who could be in the plans to compete at the Olympics.

 

The objectives also include a grand tour debut. The Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana  are most realistic for the second season in the colors of Astana. "Making an analysis of these two grand tours, I like both. The important thing is to be physically well prepared because being in good condition, I can make a beautiful performance in both of them," said the Colombian who did the Words in Richmond.

 

One of the big changes in Astana was the departure of Mikel Landa who signed for Team Sky after a great Giro d'Italia. "He is an excellent climber and the year he showed it," Lopez said. He added about his future as a key rider for the leaders. "It is up to the team and also depends on the races and schedule because I am in the same team as two of the greatest riders (Vincenzo) Nibali and (Fabio) Aru.”

 

Regarding the Tour de France, he is more measured. He dreams about doing the race, but "I think you should have a quieter approach. First I want to get experience in the Giro or Vuelta, getting more confidence, more experience and considerable resistance.”

 

Lopez is in Boyaca to rest with his family and do physical activities to keep fit. In November he will travel to the usual team meeting to prepare for 2016. "To go to a race with lack of pace and progression is hard, but the confidence and support they have given me in the team give me peace of mind to do things in the best way. In this difficult time the team has always been very aware of me, like the unconditional support of my family. This makes me calmer,” he said.

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