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Miguel Angel López (Medellin-EPM) made a big statement at the Vuelta a San Juan with a late attack and solo victory on stage 5 atop Alto del Colorado.
A chase by Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) faded on the final 7.1% gradient with 2km to go and he rode to second, 30 seconds back. Sergio Higuita (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished in third, one second ahead of Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) and Einer Rubio (Movistar).
Team Medellin-EPM grouped at the front of the peloton as the kilometres clicked down to just 14 remaining and worked to pull back a two-minute deficit to the two leaders, Manuele Tarozzi ( Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizanè) and Leandro Carlos Messineo (Chimbas Te Quiero).
With 7.5km to go Remco Evenepoel (Soudal-QuickStep) made a surge at the front, only to fade quickly as Higuita led a small group that included Ineos pair Bernal and Ganna, Rubio and López across to catch Tarozzi and Messineo.
With 5km to go, López set off solo. Ganna went into time trial mode but could not close the gap to López on the final slopes of the gold mining region to Alto del Colorado.
How it unfolded
Peter Sagan’s retirement announcement/birthday party had scarcely ended on Thursday night when a gusting wind began to sweep through San Juan, rustling jacaranda trees and rattling window panes all over the city. A heavy electrical storm broke out shortly afterwards, and when the peloton awoke on Friday morning, they found the previously-sweltering summer temperatures had dropped to something altogether more manageable for stage 5 of the Vuelta a San Juan.
Indeed, the early news filtering into town from the lofty summit of the Alto Colorado suggested that the mercury had plummeted considerably, though by early afternoon, the sun had burned off enough of the cloud cover to ensure conditions were brisk rather than bitter on the long road…
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