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López lives to fight another stage as Giro d'Italia's Best Young Rider

Juan Pedro Lopez of Spain and Team Trek Segafredo in the white best young jersey of the Giro d'Italia
Juan Pedro Lopez of Spain and Team Trek Segafredo in the white best young jersey of the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Michael SteeleGetty Images)

Juan Pedro López lived to fight another stage at the Giro d’Italia on Friday and so kept his hopes of winning the best young rider’s white jersey alive.

The 24-year-old Spaniard has been fighting every day since stage 4 to Mount Etna, when he took the maglia rosa. Then the Trek-Segafredo rider switched to defending a top ten placing, and since João Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) was forced out of the race with COVID-19 before stage 18, López has been defending the white jersey. 

He is also ninth overall, 15:29 down on Giro d'Italia race leader Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers).

More riders have perhaps spent more kilometres in attacks or scored more ranking points but nobody has accumulated more fatigue than López. Yet he keeps fighting and keeps racing.  

“I’ve been fighting for all the Giro so far and now I have to keep fighting. I’ve given 100% every day,” he said after pulling a crisp and clean white jersey on the podium after the fatigue of stage 19 to  Santuario di Castelmonte. 

“It’s the first time in my life that I’ve been in this situation, but I’m so happy. I’m happy for the team and happy that everyone has helped me so much.”

López has somehow transformed his fatigue into positive energy and a daily lesson in Grand Tour racing. His 2022 Giro d’Italia memories will initially be painful but will surely help him to become a future overall contender.  

“It’s actually a good feeling. I’ve learnt something every day. For now and for my future,” he says, wise beyond his years.  

López leads Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) by 5:11 in the best young rider classification, with Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) a distant third at 18:32. Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) endured a bad day on the roads of Friuli. He finished over 20 minutes down on López and slipped to fourth at 28:55.

Now López has just got to fight and suffer for one more day, and especially on the long, steep climb to the Marmolada glacier on Saturday.

“I can’t say I’ve won the jersey yet,” he admitted.

“Tomorrow I’ll try to do 100% and we’ll see what happens. For sure it’ll be a big fight, for a good GC position, for the white jersey and even to go in the break.”

 “I feel that I’m losing some energy but I’ll give it my all on the final climb. I still feel mentally strong and so I’m ready for one last very hard day of suffering.”  

“Santiago Buitrago is my big rival. May the best rider win!”

 

 

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.