Lopez wins mountainous Vuelta 18th stage, Roglic increases lead

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Through the mists: Miguel Angel Lopez crosses the finish line on Alto d'El Gamoniteiro (AFP/MIGUEL RIOPA)
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Miguel Angel Lopez climbed through the mist and drizzle to win the brutal 18th stage of the Vuelta a Espana on the Alto d'El Gamoniteiro on Thursday.

On a ferocious, narrow climb where gradients reached 17 per cent, almost all the leading contenders attempted attacks, only the Colombian, who escaped with 4km to go, succeeded.

Lopez lived up to his 'Superman' nickname as he flew up the mountain at the end of a 162.6km ride that included four tough climbs.

He surged past Spaniard David De la Cruz of Team UAE Emirates, who had attacked earlier on the climb, with 2.5km to go and rolled on to cross the line alone and bring Movistar their first Grand Tour victory of the season.

Slovenian Primoz Roglic of Jumbo-Visma came second 14 seconds back picking up bonus seconds and edging another Movistar rider, Spaniard Enric Mas by six seconds.

With three stages to g, Roglic lads Mas by 2min 30sec in the general classification with Lopez a further 23sec back.

Colombian Egan Bernal of Ineos finished fourth to climb to fifth overall. Australian Jack Haig on Bahrain Victorious was fifth to stay fouth overall.

pb/iwd

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