Miguel Angel López to challenge four-year doping ban at Court of Arbitration for Sport

Miguel-Angel-Lopez

Colombian climber Miguel Angel López has declared he is not guilty of using banned substances and will appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport (CAS) against his four-year suspension from racing. López claims the case is based on a mistake involving “manipulated phone call transcripts.”

According to a UCI statement released on Wednesday, López received a four-year ban effective from July 25, 2023, for “use and possession of a prohibited substance (Menotropin)” during the 2022 Giro d’Italia. Menotropin is typically used to treat fertility issues. A former stage winner in the Vuelta a España and Tour de France, and a podium finisher in both the Giro and Vuelta, López has consistently maintained his innocence.

Writing on Instagram, López criticised the decision, arguing it disregards recent decisions by Spanish legal authorities and CAS. He also claimed, without direct proof, that the ban relied on “manipulated and biased phone call transcripts.” “The offence does not exist, and the ban is unjustified,” López wrote. “I will appeal immediately and defend my innocence. I hope to return to competitive cycling.” The 30-year-old former Astana racer also expressed gratitude for the continued support he has received during the investigation.

The UCI’s statement mentioned that “the disciplinary proceeding was initiated following an investigation by the International Testing Agency (ITA).” This investigation was based on evidence from the Spanish Guardia Civil and the Spanish Anti-Doping Organisation (CELAD) as part of Operation ‘Ilex’. “The UCI welcomes this valuable collaboration,” the statement added. However, the UCI did not specify what evidence was obtained from Ilex or how it influenced their investigation.

The UCI pointed out that since January 2021, its anti-doping programme’s “operational activities” have been managed by the ITA. They highlighted that the agreement with the ITA ensures independent operations.

In its original statement about the ban, the UCI said it would not comment further on the suspension. López has up to a month to file his appeal with CAS.

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