Miguel Ángel López abandons Vuelta a España whilst being 3rd overall
The 27-year-old Colombian was third going into the penultimate stage, but abandoned the stage after missing the key break
Superman Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) surged to a stage victory of the Vuelta a Espana earlier this week on Thursday on Stage 18 and looked likely to finish on the podium in 3rd place ahead of Jack Haig and Adam Yates after attacking on the new "evil sister" of the Alto del Angliru (12.5km at 10.1%), the Altu d’El Gamoniteiru.
López sensationally withdrew from the Vuelta a España midway through the penultimate stage of the race, with reports circulating that he had gone home.
The Colombian climbed off the bike and into the Movistar team car,after he and several other GC riders missed a decisive attack by Egan Bernal 57 km from the finish of stage 20 from Sanxenxo to Mos.
Así fue, el momento en imágenes ?? #Superman #López queda k.o. ????#LaVuelta21 #LaVuelta #LaVueltaaEspaña #LaVueltaEnCOPEhttps://t.co/RGSpDnAitq— Juan Ramirez (@juanramestr) September 4, 2021
Lopez told Spanish radio later that day, "Why did I abandon? We’re humans, not machines."
“At times we’re made of flesh and bone. What remains is asking forgiveness to team and fans. It was a mistake to not finish.”
Later, in a statement released by his team, he elaborated on the incident. "As most of you have seen, the moment when the group split was a difficult situation, hard to resolve."
"We saw ourselves getting into a difficult position when some of the best in the GC went ahead of us: Bahrain played its cards well, and it's hard to close a gap like that, even if it's small, at this point of the Vuelta.
"Legs are so tired, the level is so high, and obviously no-one was going to help us out closing that small gap in that moment. It took long for us to react.
"There were so many factors involved and, in the end, it's sad to see La Vuelta ending for me this way."
Miguel Angel Lopez's abandonment saw Jack Haig to climb to third and Ineos's Adam Yates climb to fourth on GC.
Egan Bernal had a bad day and slid down the standings and lost the white jersey but remained in good spirits at the finish line hoping to put in a good time trial on today's final stage.
Sunday's final stage is a 33km individual time trial to Santiago de Compostella, with Primoz Roglic looking likely to win the 2021 La Vuelta overall.
Tune in at 11:45 Eastern, 16:45 UK, 17:45 Europe for our LIVE coverage of Stage 21 today.