“It is a great pleasure for us to experience this last year of your cycling career together, champion”said Miguel Ángel López last May when Vicenzo Nibali confirmed that he was retiring from professional cycling at the end of the season, which will be this Saturday at the Giro de Lombardía. The Colombian had him as a teammate at Astana in 2015, 2016 and now in 2022. El Tiburón will compete with an exclusive bicycle for his farewell, which will be on a 253-kilometer route. It will also be the “last bullet” for Alejandro Valverde of the Movistar Team.
The fifth cycling monument in its 116 version will be special due to the retirement of two greats. Vicenzo Nibali and Alejandro Valverde, two historical runners who made the decision to leave professionalism this year. The classic of the dead leaves, as the Giro de Lombardía is also known. The Italian will be looking for his third victory in this race after having achieved it in 2015 and 2017; meanwhile, the Spaniard will finally try to be in first place after being second three times.
Miguel Ángel López and the honor of accompanying Nibali
The Colombian met Vicenzo 7 years ago when he arrived at Astana when he was just 21 years old and was signed by the Kazakh team. In that period they have been teammates and also rivals, since the Italian from 2017 to 2021 went through two different squads (Bahrain and Trek). In 2022 they met again after Vinokourov decided to have them back for the season.
López’s career has also been marked by competition with Il Scualo since in the 72nd edition of the Vuelta a España, Miguel Ángel managed to overcome it on day 11 that was disputed between Lorca and Calar Alto with a finish in a first category port where he won against the Italian and Chris Froome, who ended up staying with the general. That was the first time that the boyacense got a stage victory in a big one.
Precisely, the Vuelta a España was the last big one in which they could run together. There, Nibali was in 45th place and López was fighting for the podium until the final stages where Ayuso took third place and the Colombian was fourth at 49 seconds. After finishing the competition, he thanked one of the few who has been able to win the big three (Vuelta a España 2010, Giro d’Italia in 2013 and 2016 and Tour de France 2014).
“Being supported by a great champion like Vincenzo in his last year is a great honor for me”, said the Astana man who also recognized what his other teammates had done to stand out in the competition. This Saturday, together with Christian Scaroni, Javier Romo, David de La Cruz, Samuele Battistella and Simone Velasco, they will accompany the Shark to say goodbye with first place.
Which Colombians will be in the Giro de Lombardía 2022?
In addition to López, they will also be Sergio Higuita (Bora), Rigoberto (EF) and Daniel Felipe Martínez (INEOS). There will be 4 Colombians who will seek to join Esteban Chaves who until now has been the only one of ours to achieve victory in this monument, he did it in 2016 beating Diego Rosa and Urán who was third.
Rigo has been the Colombian who has been on the podium the most times in the history of this competition with three times in third place (2008, 2012 and 2016). While, Egan Bernal was third in the 2019 version that Bauke Mollema won. The current champion is Tadej Pogacar who hopes to repeat this year since he is part of the list of UAE Team Emirates riders who, for next season, will not have Fernando Gaviria.
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Superman will accompany Nibali in his farewell at Il Lombardía
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