Astana-Qazaqstan has provisionally reinstated its Colombian rider Miguel Angel Lopez, announced via a tweet today. The rider was internally suspended after media reports linked him to a Spanish case related to drug trafficking.
The Colombian was linked to Marcos Maynar, a professor at the University of Extremadura according to reports from the Spanish cycling website Ciclo21. The professor is under investigation for alleged money laundering and drug trafficking. Ultimately though, the links between Miguel Angel Lopez and Maynar have not been proven so far.
“Based on the information received, Astana Qazaqstan Team was advised that in the absence of any finding by either the Spanish authorities or the UCI (cycling governing body), it was not in a position to continue the suspension or further deprive the rider of his contractual rights.
Miguel Angel Lopez is thus provisionally reintegrated as part of Astana Qazaqstan Team and will return to the previously agreed racing plan (Vuelta a Burgos and then Vuelta a Espana).
The team will monitor the situation closely and will not hesitate to take resolute measures depending on the development of the situation.”Statement from team Astana
Astana has also stated that they forwarded all of the information that they have received to the ITA – the International Testing Agency, which works on behalf of the UCI to proceed with its anti-doping investigations.
Miguel Angel Lopez is one of the star grand tour riders of the male peloton but has struggled relatively of late. He hasn’t finished his last 4 grand tours, a run that goes back to the 2020 Tour de France where he finished 6th overall. Various ailments and causes have been the reason, including a hip injury sustained during May’s Giro d’Italia
The Colombian was a stage winner in that 2020 edition of the Tour de France but only has the Vuelta a Andalucía as a major win since.