Colombian cyclist Miguel Angel Lopez has been fired by the Astana team, who claim he has links to a Spanish doctor at the heart of a doping investigation. Lopez has said he will fight the sanction with the UCI and that he has never tested positive or been investigated for doping.
“Mr. Miguel Angel Lopez hereby informs that he will defend his rights before the corresponding Courts, in a case which he understands as a clear case of abusive termination without just cause,” the rider’s lawyers said on Twitter.
The sacking follows a suspension for a suspected previous connection with the same doctor, Marcos Maynar, one of six people under investigation since 2021 into an alleged doping ring in Spain.
Astana Qazaqstan Team discovered new elements showing M. A. Lopez' probable connection with Dr M. Maynar. Accordingly, the team had no other solution than to end the contract between team and rider, based on breaches of said contract and internal team rules, with immediate effect
— Astana Qazaqstan Team (@AstanaQazTeam) December 12, 2022
The Astana team said overnight Monday they had “discovered new elements showing Miguel Angel Lopez” probable connection with Dr Marcos Maynar. Accordingly, the team had no other solution than to end the contract between team and rider, based on breaches of said contract and internal team rules, with immediate effect.”
The 28-year-old Lopez won a stage on the Tour de France in 2020, won the best young rider category on the Giro d’Italia in 2018 and 2019 and finished third in both the Giro and Vuelta a Espana in 2018.
It has been reported to the media today the decision of Astaná Qazaqsan Team to
terminate the contract between the rider Miguel Angel Lopez with that team. This
contract had been extended in November 2022, for the the season 2023 ✉️ pic.twitter.com/27PJWpuxBu
— Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (@SupermanlopezN) December 12, 2022
Lopez denies any connection to doping.
“The rider rejects any allegation that could damage his name and honor as professional rider, and reminds that he has never tested positive for any drugs or doping, nor has he been investigated by any authority,” a statement released on Twitter said.
Lopez also pointed out that Astana had extended his contract for next season in November.