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Lebrijano, Betic and leader of the Giro d’Italia. He is the man of fashion. It’s Juan Pedro Lopez. He is the first national cyclist to wear the ‘pink jersey’ since 2015 (Contador did). A nice guy, funny and funny. As much as to joke about Joaquín’s non-congratulations for his leadership. But that’s the end. And it’s time to talk about the origins.

Juanpe, like almost all children, was a soccer fanatic. He played goalkeeper, but he wasn’t good at it. At nine years old, he changed the ball for the bicycle. And his father had to see. “Although he liked football, one day he took his father’s bicycle and began to roll. He told me that he liked it, he continued, he continued and until now”, comments Concepción Pérez, mother of the Spanish cyclist of the moment, to El Confidencial.

Juanpe López, with the ‘pink jersey’. (EFE/Maurizio Brambatti)

The bicycle was his means of transportation and his best friend. From a very young age, it was seen that cycling was much more than a ‘hobby’ for him. This is confirmed by Andrés Sánchez, one of his close friends from his town. “His father was very fond of him and belongs to the Lebrija Cycling Club. You always saw that will to reach the elite of cycling. Although, looking at his body, it didn’t look like he was going to be a professional cyclist.”

All or nothing to cycling

Juanpe’s origins are humble. “In his house there was nothing lacking, but he didn’t have too many either,” says Sánchez. The Sevillian always wanted to earn a living and that is why he worked as a pizza delivery man to save money in his youth. “He combined both things well because he delivered pizzas at night. He also worked as a mortar in a company in the town with a friend. He endured both things well because he was very young, younger than now. When cycling became more serious, he couldn’t continue to do it. And he left him.”

The Sevillian bet everything on cycling, despite his mother’s reluctance. “What he wanted was to be a cyclist. However, I asked him to leave it because the life of a cyclist scares me, more than anything because of falls. He told me that either bike or studies. And he chose the bicycle. He finished high school and they told him that if he wanted to be a cyclist, he had to dedicate himself 100% to cycling. And he did, because he had very good qualities,” explains Concepción.

This change came through the Contador Foundation. Juanpe had been rejected when he was a youth for not passing a first test. He didn’t give up. A year later he tried again and this time his potential was seen. Her live changed. Cycling was no longer just a hobby, it was his way of making a living. This involved extensive sports concentrations and leaving behind his native Lebrija.

Very identified with his people

Andrés speaks: “He has a significant attachment to the town. In fact, he has a house here. He alternates a lot in Lebrija and the places to which he concentrates. He also spends part of the year in Sierra Nevada and Andorra. It is difficult for him to be away from his family for a long time, but he gets along well. Here he has his people. Now he is aware that he is in a stage of his life in which he has to sacrifice himself”. “He is comfortable in Sierra Nevada. And he goes two or three times a year to train there. When his profession allows it, he comes to town and is with the usual people. He misses his friends, his parents… Although he is not a boy who goes out much, he enjoys when he is here,” says his mother.

Juanpe, euphoric after winning the stage. (Reuters/Jennifer Lorenzini)

His environment confesses that it has been a surprise that Juanpe has achieved the leadership in the Giro. Now, the question is whether the Sevillian is a candidate to win this grand tour. This is how Concepción sees it: “I don’t know. I hope God and the Virgin help him to achieve it. But I see it as difficult. We talk every day and he is very happy; he wants to win, but I haven’t asked him how he looks because these days he is very nervous, with many interviews… “.

His love for Betis

Spending time away from Lebrija has not altered their routines at all. When he returns to town, he goes out with the same old ones to ride a bicycle. “When he has to do his specific job, he is on his own, but then he is with us. He is a person who has no problem dating anyone. He is very similar to Alejandro Valverde, because they both go out with their little group from the town,” Sanchez maintains.

Juanpe López speaks to the public after the conclusion of a stage. (EFE/Maurizio Brambatti)

Juanpe is also always available to his friends. Sánchez tells it: “He is the typical friend who, despite being a professional, He stays with your children so you can go out to dinner with your wife. He comes with his pajamas and his computer and does you a favor. That speaks highly of him.”

His Beticismo is something inexplicable, even though in the capital of Andalusia it is usual to choose between Betis or Seville. His fondness led him to rebuke, in a joking tone, Joaquin for not congratulating him. Sánchez explains: “He was born from Betis, because his parents are not particularly football fans and his grandfather was a Sevilla player. When Eder Sarabia was at Betis, he made friends with him. In fact, he took him to a game, brought him down to the locker room and introduced him to the footballers. But I think he has no relationship with Joaquín and they don’t know each other; she will have answered him for the joke “. The laughs do not stop in Juanpe, a leader clinging to humor and Betis. And that he wants to surprise in this edition of the Giro d’Italia.

Lebrijano, Betic and leader of the Giro d’Italia. He is the man of fashion. It’s Juan Pedro Lopez. He is the first national cyclist to wear the ‘pink jersey’ since 2015 (Contador did). A nice guy, funny and funny. As much as to joke about Joaquín’s non-congratulations for his leadership. But that’s the end. And it’s time to talk about the origins.

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