Astana continued its hot streak on Tuesday, with Colombian climbing ace Angel “Superman” Lopez winning Tuesday’s queen stage of the Tour of the Alps in Fiemme, Italy, beating Chris Froome in the process. Called the Giro del Trentino until 2016, the Tour of the Alps has become the preferred Giro d’Italia tune up this year instead of the Tour de Romandie. Lopez, Froome, Thibaut Pinot, George Bennett, Domenico Pozzovivo and Fabio Aru are all getting ready for the first Grand Tour of the season in the Italy and Austria-based, 2HC-rated race.

On the first stage, Astana continued its fine season with a win from Spaniard Pello Bilbao. You could throw a lasso around Froome, Bennett, Aru, Pinot and Lopez at the finish. Bilbao dedicated the win to fallen teammate and 2011 winner Michele Scarponi, who triumphed on the opening stage of the Tour of the Alps one year ago.

Pello Bilbao dedicated his Stage 1 win to fallen teammate Michele Scarponi. Photo: Sirotti

On Tuesday three men left from the break hit the foot of the tough finishing Alpe di Pampeago climb with a lead of 2:00. The ascent, the only summit finish of the five stage race, was 7.7-km of 9.8 percent, its steepest ramps near the end.

Pinot’s Groupama-FDJ immediately upped the pace, which put Sky on the back foot, but Froome’s team soon rallied. Bilbao was hanging on at the back.

With the last fugitive brought to heel and 3-km to go, Astana’s Czech Jan Hirt and Austrian Riccardo Zoidl (Team Felbermayr-Simplon Wels) dashed off the front but Sky chased them down. Froome then attacked at the red kite. From a handful of riders, Lopez, Pinot and new Colombian climbing sensation Ivan Sosa of Italian Pro Continental side Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia shook off Froome, with Lopez earning his second summit finish victory of the season.

Astana’s hot streak was illustrated neatly by ProCyclingStats.com’s front page.

Sosa, third two days in a row, takes over as race leader with three mountainous stages to go. Pinoto and Lopez are both six seconds back on GC.

2018 Tour of the Alps Stage 2
1) Angel Lopez (Colombia/Astana) 3:55:30
2) Thibaut Pinot (France/Groupama-FDJ) s.t.
3) Ivan Sosa (Colombia/Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia) s.t.

2018 Tour of the Alps GC
1) Ivan Sosa (Colombia/Androni-Sidermec-Bottecchia)
2) Thibaut Pinot (France/Groupama-FDJ) +0:06
3) Angel Lopez (Colombia/Astana) s.t.

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