The Colombian climber started Saturday’s time trial third overall, but his legs ran out before reaching Paris, and bounced down to sixth overall after losing his duel with Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) for the final spot on the podium.
“It wasn’t easy. It was a complicated day and I didn’t feel real good in the time trial,” López said. “We got all the way to this stage in a good position, and we just didn’t finish the way we’d like. We came up one day short.”
The 26-year-old Tour rookie started Saturday’s climbing time trial 1:39 ahead of Porte, but his climbing legs failed him just days after he won a stunning stage at the Col de la Loze in the Alps.
The Astana rider is not known for his time trial prowess, but he admitted he was hoping to conserve his spot on the final podium in Paris. Instead, he finished 45th on the stage, more than five minutes slower than Porte. He tumbled to sixth as Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren) and Enric Mas (Movistar) both bumped ahead of him on GC.
“I dreamed of arriving to the podium and I was hoping to stay there,” López said. “We were in the fight right up to the end, but it’s now over. Someone has to lose, and we were the ones who came up short today.”
López avoided disaster in stage 1 when he crashed into a wall in the rainy opening in Nice, and rode from strength to strength throughout the Tour. His victory in the Alps put him in pole position for the podium, but he ran out of gas on the final climb Saturday.
“We did a good Tour from the beginning, but you always have to finish it off until the end,” López said. “It’s important to get into the final battle, and we were right there. It’s like a big soccer match, someone wins and someone loses, but the important thing is to be there. I didn’t have a great day, and I just have to accept it.”