'I miss the magic of cycling 12 years ago,' says Miguel Ángel López
The Colombian says when racing he always focuses on the feelings in his legs rather than numbers on a computer
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2020 may be the last year Miguel Ángel López will be able to regularly compete for the white jersey, although after wins in the classification these past two years his time is already up at the Giro d'Italia with the cut-off being 25 not 26, yet the Colombian is already reminiscing on simpler times.
Despite his relative youth, the Astana rider has spoken of his yearning for a cycling era that existed when he could only dream of being in the WorldTour growing up in his native Colombia. López prefers to attack and take the race to his rivals, rather than extended wars of attrition and focusing on watts, trusting science rather than sensations.
"Whenever I can I attack and try not to regret it later," López told Ciclored (opens in new tab). "I prefer to try and fail rather than later regretting not trying. When I start I look at what my legs are saying, not the number on my computer.
"If you look at the computer, you don't attack. Sometimes you find yourself with a smaller number and other times with a higher number. It doesn't make a difference, it depends on the situation."
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Maybe this is the missing piece to a Grand Tour victory, although López has finished in the top 10 at all five Grand Tours he's participated in so far in his career, including two podiums in 2018 at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España.
With his panache, which has on occasion boiled over into attacking spectators and not just his rivals, is it a choice between winning individual stages and stage races?
"Both things are complicated," López explains. "You can't sing and whistle at the same time. When you focus on the general classification it is rare to win a stage because of the current state of cycling with so much technology. People focus on their Garmin or their SRM and look down a lot.
"I miss brave cyclists and the magic of cycling 10 or 12 years ago," López continues. "When there were attacks 80km away. Now in the last 500m I would like to attack but you have to be aware that everything is so controlled that if you explode you can lose 20 minutes and have to think only in stages."
Maybe the Colombian is forgetting Chris Froome's jaw-dropping performance on stage 19 of the 2018 Giro d'Italia to take both the stage win and maglia rosa, although López will do well to remember the Ineos rider's performances at any of his four victorious Tour de France campaigns, as the 25-year-old will make his debut at the French Grand Tour this year.
"The team has chosen it, I have always been open to the decisions they make. They have made it so and we will work towards it," López says, explaining the reason behind his inclusion, with Jakob Fuglsang focusing on the Giro. "It is a very striking Tour for me. There are a lot of mountains and the time trial is in the third week and ends on a gradient. It motivates me but I will remain calm. I want to enjoy the race because I have never done it before."
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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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