‘I’ve lost my mind’ – Juan Pedro Lopez apologizes after throwing bottle at rival at Giro d’Italia

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An emotional Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) has apologized for throwing a bottle at Sam Oomen (Jumbo-Visma) after the pair clashed on Stage 9 of the Giro d’Italia.

Lopez rode a brave run to hold on to the Stage 9 leader’s pink jersey, coming within 1’46” of surprise winner Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe).

However, the Spaniard took advantage of the start of his post-race interview to confess to the incident with Oomen.

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“Before any questions I want to say sorry to Sam Oomen because in a tense moment he tried to push me and I lost my mind and threw a bottle at him,” Lopez said.

“I mean sorry.”

Lopez’s overall lead may have been reduced to 12 seconds after the fireworks over Blockhaus, but it was a tremendous feat for him alone to keep pink after a brutal day on the bike. It was made all the more impressive after he was forced to stop briefly on the final climb after an accordion effect of slowing down riders ahead of him.

Joao Almeida (UAE Team Emirates) finished in the lead group to move up to second in the GC, with Romain Bardet (Team DSM), Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) and Hindley among those within shooting distance of Lopez.

“It’s a dream for me. I don’t believe at this moment,” Lopez continued.

“Of course, I didn’t think I would be here at the top of the Blockhaus before the rest day with the maglia rosa. Today we have to enjoy dinner and also every moment.”

‘A photo-finish in the mountains!’ – Watch a thrilling finish on Blockhaus as Hindley wins

“He might just have immersed himself in”

Safer escape, 12-time Giro stage winner Robbie McEwen has expressed fear that Lopez’s confession could lead to a sanction from the race marshals.

“This may be the first time they’ve heard of it. Maybe she wasn’t filmed, maybe she wasn’t seen by a commissioner,” McEwen began.

“But now to say it, as the Flemings like to say, ‘this story can grow a tail.'”

He continued: “Obviously [it was] fire of action. He probably looked at himself and feels really bad about it.

“But he may have just gotten himself into the water and gotten himself into trouble because no matter how it happened he apologized and feels bad about it, the stewards can say , ‘now we realize that the rules are the rules and we have to do something.’

“In the race, it’s a pretty serious incident for the stewards, so we’ll see what they do with it.”

‘His best performance’ – Lopez hailed after surviving Blockhouse in Pink

Assuming he survives any investigation, Lopez will head into the second day of rest in pink looking to recharge knowing that more tests in the mountains await him.

“It was nice to hear him apologize,” Dan Lloyd said.

“It’s not normally the first thing you hear someone in the pink shirt do, even if they had a tantrum towards someone.

“These things happen in the peloton, especially I imagine when you’re in the pink jersey there’s so much pressure on your shoulders.”

Adam Blythe, who in the build-up to Sunday’s monster stage claimed the riders would want to ‘strap a rocket on their bums’, added: ‘He seems like such a nice man and a really nice person.

“He looked emotional because of what he had done, not because he was in the pink. He was a bit disappointed with the way he reacted, it was obviously really playing on his mind.

This isn’t Oomen’s first run-in with a bottle at this year’s Giro. The Dutchman was also wiped out earlier in the race after he tried to give his bottle to a spectator.

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Stream the Giro d’Italia live and on demand on Discovery+. You can also follow all the action live at eurosport.co.uk.

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