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Miguel Ángel López gets green light for racing return after drug trafficking inquiry

Astana Qazaqstan ends suspension after authorities fail to make findings, Colombian cleared for Vuelta a España start.

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Miguel Ángel López got the green light to return to racing after serving temporary suspension.

López’s Astana Qazaqstan team confirmed Monday investigations into the Colombian and alleged links to drug trafficking and money laundering crimes hit a dead-end.

The team’s provisional suspension of López was shuttered and its GC contender is slated to dive right back into racing with Vuelta a Burgos and Vuelta a España starts now on the near horizon.

“As it was communicated earlier (on 22.07.2022), following the news of Miguel Angel Lopez’s questioning by Spanish Police in connection with an investigation on Dr. Maynar, Astana Qazaqstan Team suspended Miguel Ángel López pending clarification of the status of the proceedings,” read a team statement Monday.

“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, it was not in a position to continue the suspension or further deprive the rider of his contractual rights. Miguel Ángel López 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 España).”

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López’s wild path through recent seasons took a new turn late last month.

The 28-year-old was reported to be linked to Dr. Marcos Maynar, a University professor currently under investigation for alleged drug and money laundering misdemeanors.

Astana Qazaqstan took López out of racing and waited on developments in a case it claimed to know little about.

“The news that was spread in the media yesterday evening caught us by surprise, and at the moment we do not have any details,” read a team statement late last month.

VeloNews spoke to Astana Qazaqstan racers during the recent Tour de France who similarly claimed they and the team know little about the proceedings.

“Astana Qazaqstan Team has forwarded all the information received to the International Testing Agency, which is in charge of anti-doping investigations on behalf of the UCI. The Team will monitor the situation closely and will not hesitate to take resolute measures depending on the development of the situation,” the team wrote Monday.

López hasn’t seen racing since he abandoned the Giro d’Italia with tendon troubles earlier this year in what was his fourth consecutive grand tour DNF.

The Vuelta a Burgos this week will see López warm his engine for a start at the Vuelta a España on August 17, a race where he hit the podium in 2018 but most recently abandoned during his high-profile fallout with Movistar last summer.