Miguel Ángel López says he has considered quitting cycling as a professional due to the pressures and sacrifice involved, particularly as a leader of a team.
The Colombian star pointed to Tom Dumoulin’s situation when speaking to El Tiempo in an interview. Giro d’Italia winner Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) took indefinite unpaid leave from cycling earlier this year due to the pressures and expectations on him, saying he needed to take a break to decide if he still wanted to be a professional cyclist or not.
López, 27, said he has thought like Dumoulin and at moments considered abandoning the sport, but added his family were the ones that kept him going when facing the toughest times of his career.
“Cycling is complicated and you start to think like Tom Dumoulin,” López said.
“To be honest, I have thought about leaving it and taking a step aside, because there are complex situations. The pressure, the sacrifice, the fatigue, the injuries are complicated. When you are a leader you are responsible for an entire team, but there are moments of despair and sometimes you think with hot blood. It is important to be well surrounded. Your family puts you back on the ground.”
López will embark on a new challenge in his career in 2021, switching to riding for Movistar after six years spent with Astana. In his time with the Kazakhstani team, López has regularly fought for high GC placings in Grand Tours, with third place finishes at both the Giro and the Vuelta a España in 2018, but he has yet to be able to claim an overall victory in a three-week race.
Still, with an impressive palmarès that includes overall victories at the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour de Suisse as well as stage victories at the Tour de France and the Vuelta, López is aiming to take the top prize at a Grand Tour with his new team. Having only made his Tour debut last year, López will return for the 2021 edition before riding the Vuelta later in the year, where he hopes having multiple leaders on the team will help ease the pressure on his shoulders.
“Astana always put me Giro-Vuelta, Giro-Vuelta, until last year we went to the Tour without pressure or anything,” López said. “This year we change teams and they want me to go to the Tour and the Vuelta and this is how it is. Although one may think that the Giro benefits me more for the mountains, we must adapt to what the bosses decide.”
He added: “I see [multiple leaders] as positive, that the pressure may disappear a bit, because in Astana I was the only leader and the team always worked for me. Then you get to another team with other leaders and the pressure goes away.”