Vuelta al Bidasoa
Stage 4: Irun-Irun (77.7 km)
The Spaniard Juan Pedro Lopez was crowned the new king of the Vuelta al Bidasoa after a brilliant performance on the last day, a stage that reigned with a short mileage but a tremendous demand in which, first well supported by his team-mates in the Polartec-Kometa U23, then in first person managing the decisive moments of the race, he responded perfectly to the uncertainties that the Italian Alessandro Covi fed for many kilometres.
In another very hard fought stage, with a high pace and the presence of an intense rain, the Italian Covi, who started this Saturday as sixth classified in the general classification at 29 seconds, launched the attack after the Port of Aritxulegi and quickly took a profit higher than the minute and a half that made him the new leader of the general classification. In the valley, the Polartec-Kometa team reorganized, began an intense work and prepared the ground for an acceleration of Juanpe himself in Erlaitz. Twenty kilometers from the finish, Covi was 35 seconds away from López. With the peloton behind by a minute and a half, the race was a pulse between them.
Lopez was finally able to connect with Covi about ten kilometers to the end. His yellow jersey had been brilliantly saved. In the finish line, the Italian won but the Andalusian also entered celebrating the success as it could not be otherwise. Lopez took the rest of his main rivals away in more than a minute in the qualifiers.
“Yes, we have had some difficult moments, yes”, admits López, who is radiant with happiness after his victory in one of the most important races on the Spanish scene. “I didn’t realize when Covi started. Then they told me he left in the port tunnel. I should have been more attentive. But I really found out on the plain, when he put the director through and sang me a 1:40 gap. I got a little nervous, but Rafa[Diaz Justo, the director] calmed me down. I trusted the team and without the team this would not have been possible. They’ve been ten, full up until I had to pull forward. And from there it was a face-to-face with Covi, my forces against his. Luckily I was able to catch him on the last downhill run, he asked me if I was going to race him and I said no. With two miles to go or we even shook hands. We had a good race. But the team was the key”.
Juan Pedro López will not have much time for celebrations, since this Sunday he will take part in the last race of the Spanish Cup, the Gran Premio Macario de Alcalá de Henares. A final date to which he comes with mathematical options, although very difficult, to win the title in the elite and U-23 categories.
(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)