'I tried to convince him to continue': Miguel Ángel López's team-mate speaks out after his leader abandoned the Vuelta

Imanol Erviti told López that he would regret it if he abandoned the race the way he did

Miguel Ángel López
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Miguel Ángel López's team-mate has spoken out about how he tried to make his Colombian leader continue before he abandoned on stage 20 of the Vuelta a España 2021.

Imanol Erviti, one of Movistar's most trusted domestiques, was the man who stuck by López before he eventually abandoned after missing a decisive split in the peloton, that would have seen him plummet out of the top-10 in the general classification.

López said after his surprising abandon "I decided to stop fighting a battle which was all but lost” as he apologised to his team, fans and the race organisers. 

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In an interview with Spanish newspaper Diario de Navarra, Erviti said: "A soigneur told me, ‘stop! stop!, Miguel Ángel is there.

"I asked him if he had crashed or if something was wrong. I stopped and I found he was bitter, angry, in crisis, upset with what had happened. I got off the bike and tried to convince him to continue in the race.

"I tried to convince him that he should do it for the commitment to the team, for his team-mates who were there, and because he had also quit the Tour de France, he would regret it later,"

López has abandoned the Tour de France on stage 19 as he supposedly looked to focus on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

"I tried to be as positive as possible, to try to encourage him to continue, but it was impossible." Continued Erviti.

"You live through it with incredulity - To me, it seems something almost unreal."

López has history with his temper as he one hit a fan at the Giro d'Italia after he was knocked off his bike.

Just two stages before leaving the Vuelta, López has won the final major mountain stage atop the Altu d'El Gamoniteiru and was sitting in third overall heading into the final mountain stage.

But López was caught out in a split that was forced by Bahrain Victorious' Gino Mäder, which caught out both López and Ineos Grenadiers rider Egan Bernal, with Bernal losing his white jersey to Mäder after finishing around seven minutes behind his rivals.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.