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The Colombian climber, speaking to Spanish and Colombian media, said he gave up on what he called a “lost cause.”
“I gave up fighting for a battle that was practically lost,” López said. “I just want to tell the fans, the sponsors, the entire Vuelta organization … apologize for what is happening and how this has gone today.”
Also read: López will regret leaving Vuelta
Saturday’s final road stage at the Spanish grand tour was thrown into chaos late in the race when López abruptly stopped racing with about 20km after he had been caught out in a split.
Movistar teammate Enric Mas was safely up the road to defend his second place, but López was caught back in a second chase group.
— Movistar Team (@Movistar_Team) September 4, 2021
Despite reports in Colombian media citing unnamed sources that Movistar sport directors told López to stop pulling — and in a sense give up on his possible podium finish — so he would not rejoin the two chasing GC groups, López did not mention that.
Instead, he offered no explanation except to apologize.
“It was a bit complicated, but in the end, it happened like this,” López said. “I want to apologize to my teammates. There were only a few of us left, and we worked hard every day, and they left their skin on the road, gave their all, 100 percent.”
Also read: López abandons Vuelta
“As most have seen, the timing of the cut has been an uncomfortable situation, difficult to resolve,” the Colombian recounted. “We have seen ourselves in a difficult moment and the best ones have gone ahead of us. Bahrain played their cards well, and it is difficult to cover such a gap, even if it is small.
“There is a lot of fatigue at this point of the Vuelta,” he said. “Obviously no one was going to help close that small gap at that time. We take [long] to react. There are many factors and, in the end, it is a shame that we have to finish La Vuelta in this way.”