'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 (opens in new tab), 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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