Team Sky might lay claim to the best couple of days in this week’s cycling, but Astana pipped the British squad with Saturday’s victory in the queen stage of the Tour of Oman. Angel “Superman” Lopez (Astana/Colombia) won on formidible Green Mountain, his first triumph of the season, the day after Danish teammate Magnus Cort Nielsen took the fourth stage of the 2.HC-rated race. Also on Saturday, a third teammate, Andrey Lutsenko (Kazakhstan) took over the race lead from Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium/BMC) after coming second to Lopez on the 5-km, 10 per cent ascent.
— World Cycling Stats (@wcstats) February 17, 2018
Sky was rolling on Thursday and Friday in two other races, the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal and Spain’s Ruta Del Sol. In Portugal on Friday, victory Geraint Thomas’s time trial win increased his GC lead. This came the day after Polish teammate Michal Kwiatkowski earned Stage 2’s flowers. Meanwhile, in Spain, Sky’s Dutchman Wout Poels grabbed the race lead with a win on Thursday, but relinquished it Saturday to stage winner Tim Wellens (Belgium/Lotto-Soudal). Poels is 11-seconds back in third before the concluding time trial.
The accomplishments of both teams are reminiscent of Trek-Segafredo’s hot streak from January 24 to February 2, when the U.S.A.-based outfit took six wins.
So far, Astana’s 2018 in general has been very strong. Sitting fifth in the Ruta Del Sol GC is Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez, who won the Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia on February 10. In stage races so far, Sanchez placed 8th in the Santos Tour Down Under and runner-up in the Volta a Valenciana, where Danish teammate, Jakob Fuglsang, was third. Currently, Fuglsang is third in the Ruta Del Sol, fourteen-seconds behind Wellens.
— Miguel Triviño (@MTrivi97) February 17, 2018
Lopez and Sanchez are slated for the Giro d’Italia, while Fuglsang and Nielsen are scheduled for the Tour de France.