Miguel Ángel López hits back to take race lead on stage three of Ruta del Sol 2021

The Colombian took the race lead from Ethan Hayter on the uphill finish to Villarrodrigo

Miguel Ángel López at the Ruta del Sol 2021
(Image credit: Getty Images )

Miguel Ángel López struck back with a stage victory and the race lead on day three of the Ruta del Sol 2021. 

The Colombian Grand Tour contender, riding his first season with Movistar, missed out to Britain’s Ethan Hayter on the second stage, but came back with a victory the following day on a stiff uphill finish. 

López kicked off the attacking in the final 20km of the stage, raced from Bease de Segura to Villarrodrigo over 176km, bridging across to the breakaway and kicking once more in the final 400m to take the stage. 

The 27-year-old took victory by just two seconds ahead of Antwan Tolhoek (Jumbo-Visma) after five hours of racing, but he’d done enough to distance Hayter and move into the race lead. 

López had built up a collection of stage race victories in recent years, most recently winning the 2019 Volta a Catalunya overall.

But his dreams of Grand Tour victory have not yet become a reality, after he finished third in both the 2018 Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España while riding for Astana.

Last year López looked certain to take a podium finish in the Tour de France, but he slipped back to sixth place on the final time trial, just one day from Paris.

For 2021, he has now switched to Spanish WorldTour squad Movistar and will be leading the team at the Tour de France this summer. 

This year he has raced relatively little with the Tour de Romandie his only stage race so far before the Ruta del Sol.

>>> Strava stats reveal the huge efforts behind stage 11 of the Giro d’Italia 2021

López finished 35th overall in Switzerland, his best stage finish was 20th on the prologue time trial. 

Ruta del Sol 2021 stage three, Beas de Segura to Villarodrigo 

  1. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Movistar, 5-03-26
  2. Antwan Tolhoek (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, at 2s
  3. James Piccoli (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation, at 6s 

General classification after stage three

1. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Movistar 

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.