Miguel Ángel López will race for Colombian Continental outfit Team Medellín EPM in 2023 in the wake of his dismissal from Astana-Qazaqstan for his links to Dr Marcos Maynar, a Spanish university professor and doctor who is currently under investigation for allegedly forming part of a drug-trafficking ring.
López was provisionally suspended by Astana in the summer, but the team reinstated him ahead of the Vuelta a España, citing a lack of evidence. The Colombian subsequently placed fourth overall at the Vuelta, but he was sacked by Astana in December after the team received new information about his ties to Maynar.
In recent days, López had been linked with a move to Team Medellín EPM, and the squad confirmed his arrival on Sunday. His new teammates will include 46-year-old Óscar Sevilla, and López indicated that he would make his debut for the squad at this month’s Vuelta a San Juan.
“I want to thank Team Medellin for their trust, for giving me this beautiful opportunity,” López said in a video released by the team (opens in new tab).
With considerable understatement, López added that it had been “a complicated year.” After being fired by Astana, the 28-year-old had issued a statement rejecting “any allegation that could damage his name and honour as professional rider,” but he attracted no suitors at WorldTour or ProTeam levels.
“I was almost left without a team for 2023 because there wasn’t much time left in the year and the teams were full, there was no space,” said López, who couched his 2023 campaign as a “transitional” season. “I believe this team is giving me confidence and a great opportunity to be able to race for the year in 2023.”
Speaking to Cyclingnews following López’s dismissal, Astana manager Alexandre Vinokourov said that the team had no choice but to part company with the rider due to his links to Maynar.
“We gave him one chance before the Vuelta, but I can’t play around,” Vinokourov said. “It’s clear for everybody, you have to respect that.”
Maynar is currently under investigation by Spanish police as part of their inquiry into a widespread doping ring which reportedly operated out of a sports science department at the University of Extremadura, working with cyclists, swimmers and football players.
#ATENCIÓN 🚨Estamos encantados de hacer oficial la vinculación de @SupermanlopezN al equipo para la presente temporada. Qué orgullo que vistas nuestros colores y representes a…