Miguel Ángel López eases pressure on Movistar with his first Vuelta a España stage in four years

The Colombian was the only rider able to push on away from the other favourites on the final climb

Miguel Ángel López wins stage 18 of the Vuelta a España
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Miguel Ángel López admits that he and the team "knew it was an important day and we had to take advantage of it" as the 2021 Vuelta a España touched it's highest point on the Altu d'El Gamoniteiru.

The Colombian Movistar rider pushed on with around 7km to go on the final climb as the race went into the clouds. López was the only rider who was able to gap the group of favourites while the pace was being set by Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma).

López gained 14 seconds on the leader's jersey of Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), but it was the stage win that was his focus.

>>> Miguel Ángel López soars to stage 18 victory on monstrous Altu d'El Gamoniteiru at Vuelta a España

Speaking after the stage, López said: "I wanted to win again in La Vuelta for a long time and I have achieved it thanks to the magnificent work of my team-mates, despite the fact that there are only five of us after the loss of Carlos [Verona], Alejandro [Valverde] and [Johan] Jacobs.

"Today we gave a nice show and we go away with this nice victory. We are now calm, we knew it was an important day and we had to take advantage of it."

López hasn't won a stage of the Vuelta for four years, so it meant a lot to the 27-year-old to come out on top on what he described as the 'queen stage'.

"It had been four years since I won at La Vuelta and it’s even better in the queen stage, I do it with love and desire for my son as well," he continued. 

"I think this victory means a lot for Movistar because of the great work of all the team, only those of us who are there know the suffering day by day, it is not only talking and criticising."

There has been no Spanish stage winner in any of the Grand Tours in the 2021 season so far, but Movistar will be content that they managed to get a stage win, albeit not with a Spanish rider. 

The 19th stage favours a breakaway or a sprinter who can get over the hills, so it is not likely to feature the likes of López and Mas.

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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.