The Andalusian Juan Pedro Lopez (Lebrija, Seville; 31 July 1997) will make the leap to professionalism with Polartec-Kometa Continental Team, a squad he will join on 1 June. Raised sportively in the structures of the Fundación Alberto Contador, López became the twelfth runner in the squad.
“I don’t believe it,” says the Sevillian cyclist, “they didn’t confirm it until Sunday night and it was a shock. They didn’t believe it in my house either. I’m very happy about this opportunity, to move up from one category to another was an illusion. I’m very, very excited. I don’t have a specific dream, but I do have that desire to be able to race in a WorldTour team one day. But I’m too young. And this leap, to go step by step, adapting myself, with peace of mind, is very important”.
López, popularly known as Juanpe, was proclaimed the winner of the Vuelta al Bidasoa last Saturday, a race in which he won the first stage and where he brilliantly defended his leadership in the last one. The rider from Lebrija also finished fourth in the overall final of the Spanish Elite and U23 Cups, a tournament where he had a mathematical chance of victory until the last round, the Gran Premio Macario de Alcala de Henares, when he finished third in the standings. In the Spanish Cup he won his third race, the Trofeo Guerrita of Alcantarilla (Murcia).
“All of us who make up the foundation’s sports organisation chart consider that Juanpe has taken the measure for the U23 category and that he should take a step further. After the start of the season he has made, with this regularity in the Spanish Cup and with the recent victory in Bidasoa, as this triumph has been born, we want him to go one step further in his formation. And we appreciate that it’s in a structure like Polartec-Kometa, in a team, in races and in front of more level rivals”, says Fran Contador, manager of the team. “He is not a rider who will go unnoticed in his professionalism,” he proclaims.
For Rafa Diaz Justo, its director at Polartec-Kometa U23: “Juan Pedro is a rider we know well. He has followed the entire training process of the Foundation. As a junior, without standing out as the best, he did bring a lot of things and left signs for the years to come. Their margins of progression were very interesting. His first two years in the category were of adaptation, but last year we saw that he could make a leap forward and so we planned this campaign. He’s worked so hard. And one of the things I’ve enjoyed most is seeing him, with the additional pressure of being a leader, with what it entails, not only sustaining that role, but growing. He is very young, but I think he is currently one of the three or four cyclists with the most rides in our country today”.