Portrait ofMiguel Ángel López
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Miguel Ángel López

Dominating the mountains

ONE OF THE BEST CLIMBERS. In a year of generational change, Miguel Ángel López proved to be up to the challenge of contesting top races within the best, or even ahead of the best at certain times. He was the only rider able to clearly best the Slovenian dominant duo’s performances in the mountains in the Tour de France with a resounding Queen stage win atop the Col de La Loze, and came so close to an overall podium finish in his first ‘Grande Boucle’ appearance. He did well at the longest, hardest climbs, yet he also excelled at explosive ascents, where his ambitious style comes to shine – that was the case at the Alto do Malhao during the Volta ao Algarve, held before the pandemic, which marked his other big win in such a challenging 2020 season.

TRULY WORLD-CLASS PALMARÈS. Before his Tour debut, López had already visited the podiums of the other two Grand Tours. He did so at a fantastic 2018 season, when he finished 3rd in both La Vuelta and the Giro – having worn the Maglia Bianca as best under-26 competitor at the end of two consecutive editions. He’s actually missing only the ‘Corsa Rosa’ to complete his treble of Grand Tour stage wins, as he’s already taken two victories in La Vuelta, both in 2017, atop the Andalusian climbs of Calar Alto and Hoya de la Mora. His list of achivements -nearly twenty as a pro; at least one win in every season since he turned pro- includes one Volta a Catalunya (2019), one Tour de Suisse (2016), one Milano-Torino (2016) or the Tour Colombia (2019), as well as, of course, the triumph he was best known from before turning pro: the 2014 Tour de l’Avenir.

LEAVING INJURIES BEHIND. Setbacks have hampered López’s performance for most of his career, grudges which Miguel Ángel intends to take off as he joins the Movistar Team. The most significant ones are: a ligament injury in his right knee (2013), while still being an amateur and close to keeping him away from the pro stage altogether; two hard crashes in La Vuelta (2016) and Suisse (2017), which made him lose several teeth and lots of skin; and a crash against a publicity banner on stage one of the 2020 Giro, which required surgery to his ilial artery and a long recovery which made for a later debut with the Movistar Team. His results despite those incidents are a great measure of López’s immense resilience and fighting spirit.

Though the origin seems to be pretty well known across cycling fans, it’s good to note than the ‘Superman’ nickname comes as he showed great courage back as a young rider (2011) when he suffered a robbery attempt while riding near Sogamoso, in his home Boyacá. Two thugs stabbed him several times in his left leg, yet were unable to get what they wanted -Miguel Ángel’s bike- and left him behind. The event ended up being known by people outside his inner circle and his courage didn’t go unnoticed, as people started to call him by the name of the biggest superhero of all time – a nickname ultimately used by him at racing.

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Palmares

19 Victories as professional

1st (17th stage) Tour de France 2020
1st (4th stage) Volta ao Algarve 2020
1st Volta a Catalunya 2019
1st (4th stage) Volta a Catalunya 2019
1st Tour Colombia 2019
1st (3rd stage) Vuelta a Burgos 2018
1st (2nd stage) Tour of the Alps 2018
1st (5th stage) Tour of Oman 2018
1st (15th stage) La Vuelta 2017
1st (11th stage) La Vuelta 2017
1st (5th stage) Vuelta a Burgos 2017
1st (4th stage) Österreich-Rundfahrt 2017
1st Milano-Torino 2016
1st Tour de Suisse 2016
1st (4th stage) Tour de Langkawi 2016
1st (6th stage) Tour de San Luis 2016
1st (4th stage) Vuelta a Burgos 2015
1st Tour de l'Avenir 2014
1st (6th stage) Tour de l'Avenir 2014