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The Trek-Segafredo rider, who stepped up to the WorldTour in 2020, was thrust into the limelight in Italy after he took a surprise pink jersey on the stage 4 summit finish of Mount Etna.
As many do, he stepped up to the challenge of honoring the maglia rosa and held onto it longer than many thought he might. When he was unexpectedly bestowed with the white jersey of the best young rider after João Almeida abandoned the race with COVID-19, López stepped up to the plate once again.
In the end, he won the jersey by a comfortable margin and finished inside the top 10 in the GC.
“For sure now I don’t believe what I did. When I arrive home, I will start to think about what I do and then maybe I will believe a little bit more. Now I need to enjoy today, to be here with my family and enjoy tonight,” López said after the final time trial in Verona, wearing the white jersey.
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“When I took the pink jersey on Mount Etna, I don’t have the words to describe the moment. It is super beautiful when you are able to put on the pink jersey,” he said.
López’s fighting spirit endeared him to many watching the race and he doggedly defended the pink jersey as the race got tougher. His resilient riding ensured he made it through the Blockhaus stage on day nine and kept the jersey all the way until the chaotic stage 14 in Turin.
“I fought every day in the Giro, I tried to do my 100 percent. I went full gas and did this for the first time in my life, and I’m so happy with the team and everybody that has helped me,” he said.
López’s change as a rider was visible to see during the race as he went from unsure leader to commanding captain, but at 24, there is a lot more for him to discover about his own abilities.
Though GC contenders seem to be getting younger every year, there is still time for López to develop in that arena. Should he choose to pursue the role of general classification team leader, his experiences at the Giro d’Italia will stand him in good stead in the future.
“It’s a good lesson because I have learned a good lesson every day and that is important for me,” López said.
“Maybe yes, I would say it has made me better. I have learned new things every day but for sure this is not for now this is a lesson for the future.”