Miguel Ángel Lopez put on a great show on the Spanish roads. He went to the penultimate stage as the third man in the standings.
For three whole weeks, Spain’s Movistar was able to build the ground for a double platform on the domestic roads. Disagreements within the team and among leaders from years past seemed like a thing of the past. Cycling fans and team management thought this dark chapter was over.
Once again on Wednesday, Miguel Angel Lopez dominated the royal stage in celebrity fashion, reaching the frightening rise of Jamonitera. He cemented third place in the overall standings and headed into the second career stage at the Vuelte.
The penultimate stage the attackers wished. The profile in the latter part was up and down the usual steep Spanish climbs. In the group of major favorites, Ineos Grenadiers cyclists unleashed hell. This was followed by the arrival of Egan Bernal and Jack Haig. Lopez was right behind them and still everything was going his way.
After this attempt, Adam Yates took off, immediately chased by brave captain Primo Roglic, second man overall, Enrique Mas, and the duo from Bahrain – Victorious Jack Haig and Gino Mader. Lopez stayed with the other men from the top ten in the second group.
Maas had no idea he was resigning
Within tens of seconds, the group gained a decisive lead with Roglic and Maas and did not cooperate in this.
Bernal or de la Cruz was in the group with Lopez from the general standings, but they weren’t interested in dropping out. López tried to close the pit, but Mäder drove a cool robot to his leader Haig and took the group out of sight. been drawn.
About 30 kilometers before the finish, Lopez had already lost 4 minutes. Less than an hour later, information was received about his resignation. He got off his bike and argued with the sporting director of Batxim Villa. He was frustrated with the team and the progression of the race. Despite an exchange of views and Villa’s persuasion, Lopez did not continue, got in the car and left the Grand Tour the day before the final time trial.
“We saw Roglic was moving forward and I had to react, but I couldn’t pull away because I had Miguel Angel behind me. I knew nothing of what happened. Despite his resignation we can be happy with our performance in these races, I hope, with the podium additional,” Enrique Maas said at the end of the twentieth stage. He learned of the resignation of his colleague from the journalists.
He was thinking about the end of his career
In recent years, Movistar has faced many disappointments in the Big Three events. Whether it was the failed attempts of the three leaders in the Tour de France or the withdrawal of Marc Soler on his way to the stage of victory is up to Nair Quentin. Right in front of the cameras, Soler was annoyed and squirmed with his hands, which doesn’t paint a good face for the team.
Lopez has had a relatively challenging year. For the first time in his career, he changed employers. Then he fought with Covid, which greatly disrupted his training. In the new team, he managed to win the all-around stage race around Andalusia. He also won the classic Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge. The Tour de France followed, and after falling into the lead, he struggled with it and quit before the nineteenth stage. It already looks like Season 1 with Movistar will end with the success of Vuelta and put it on the podium as a bonus. But one day, everything changed.
Prior to the start of the season, Lopez referred to Tom Dumoulin in an interview with El Tiempo. Dutch winner Gera and world champion in time trial stopped their career precisely due to mental problems.
“Cycling is complicated and then you start to think like Tom Dumoulin. To be honest, I thought I’d just step aside. Stress, sacrifice, fatigue and injuries are complex issues. When you’re a leader and take charge of the whole team, you sometimes act very headstrong. It’s important to have the people The right ones around you. Your family will always bring you back to Earth.” said the 27-year-old cyclist.
After his abrupt end to Velta, he immediately started mentioning those words. Lopez was already toying with the idea of the ending. If that happened now, given the events of the 20th stage, no one would likely be surprised.
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