It was a journey destined to attract to a detailed sooner or later earlier than the Giro d’Italia reached its conclusion in Verona subsequent weekend, however Juan Pedro López‘s time within the chief’s maglia rosa reached its finish in Turin.
The 24-year-old Spaniard has led the race since ending second from the break atop Mount Etna 11 days in the past, sporting the well-known pink jersey for 10 of these and placing up some spirited defences of his surprising lead alongside the way in which.
On Blockhaus, the Trek-Segafredo expertise gave his all to restrict the injury because the GC favourites attacked each other virtually two minutes up the street, however he held on by 12 seconds final Sunday. Such a slim lead, although, will surely be passed by the Alps, and so it proved on the hilly, frantic stage 14 in Turin.
López ended his day 4:25 down on stage winner Simon Yates, having dropped from the elite lead group at 28km from the road, when Richard Carapaz attacked up the Superga climb.
Now in ninth general, 4:04 off the lead and 5 minutes up on tenth positioned compatriot Alejandro Valverde, López mentioned later that he was completely satisfied regardless of shedding the lead, having given his all in the course of the brutal stage.
“Like yesterday, I am tremendous completely satisfied as a result of I gave my 100%, however the different riders have been stronger than me,” he mentioned after ending. “However I am tremendous completely satisfied as a result of I stayed 10 days within the maglia rosa and I am unable to imagine it.
“Wonderful,” he added, describing the 147km stage. “I haven’t got phrases for this stage as a result of it was tremendous laborious. Like I mentioned earlier than I did my 100% and tried to defend the maglia rosa however eh, what are you able to do? I get pleasure from on daily basis, each kilometre, and I will additionally get pleasure from tomorrow.
“For positive, all people anticipated like a bonfire at present. It was like this, within the closing 70km it was full fuel, and so they made the race laborious. For me, in my view, I solely keep within the wheel and attempt to endure like a pig. I haven’t got phrases to explain the second.”
López mentioned that he acquired emotional as he crossed the road as a result of followers shouting his title by the aspect of the street, including that his time in pink had been “the most effective moments of my life”.
Earlier on within the stage, when Bora-Hansgrohe provoked the decisive splits within the peloton on the unclassified hills main as much as the primary run via the end, López made the lower on the entrance. He hung in there with the main GC favourites even because the lead group was whittled right down to 10 males over the Superga and Colle della Maddalena.
The second ascent of the Superga proved an excessive amount of, although, as he matched accelerations from the likes of Carapaz and Vincenzo Nibali early on the climb earlier than hitting his restrict after which dropping again additional up.
“Solely in a single second perhaps I acquired full fuel when Carapaz and Hindley assault,” he mentioned of his potential mistake. “Possibly then if I take it at my tempo, I may perhaps keep extra time within the entrance. However OK, it is the primary time in my life I attempted to defend the maglia and for positive I take loads of expertise.
“For positive, the Giro remains to be alive, eh? Like I say, I nonetheless must go like Cholo Simeone – ‘partido a Partido’,” he added, quoting the Atletico Madrid soccer supervisor’s ‘sport by sport’ mantra. “And I’ll see what occurs. I’ll attempt to do good GC and attempt to defend as a lot as attainable.”