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VN news ticker: López contends innocence, Van der Poel reveals 2023 program

Here's the news making headlines on Friday, January 13.

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Miguel Ángel López contends innocence after doping allegations

Miguel Ángel López is protesting his innocence in the wake of his high-profile booting from Astana-Qazaqstan for alleged links to a Spanish doping ring.

“I have nothing to repent about because I’m not doped, my biological passport is clean,” López told ADN Cycling.

López was sacked by the Kazakh team late last year after further evidence emerged of his connection to Marcos Maynar, a doctor under investigation for doping offenses. The move came off the back of a temporary suspension midway through 2022 when the Colombian was first found to have ties to Maynar.

“There hadn’t been a problem with the team [after the first suspension], things moved forward and we were looking forward to 2023 without any concerns,” López told ADN. “It had just been a bad moment that happened, a misunderstanding.”

López was recently offered a liferaft by the Continental-tier Medellín EPM team and is trying to keep a positive spin on things as he heads into 2023 with the Colombian team.

“For me, these have been various complicated years. Movistar wasn’t great for me either, so neither 2021 nor 2022 have been easy, and staying focused has been hard,” he said.

“But I’m 28, going on 29, so I can still see myself doing battle in the WorldTour. Nobody’s perfect, everybody makes mistakes, so you have to get over them, keep going and move on.”

Mathieu van der Poel to make road debut at Strade Bianche, plans to return to Tour de France

Mathieu van der Poel at the Tour de France
Van der Poel’s 2023 program is almost a mirror image of Wout van Aert’s. (Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP via Getty Images)

Mathieu van der Poel outlined his road program for 2023 this week.

Van der Poel will take time out after Hoogerheide ‘cross worlds in February before rebooting into road mode at Strade Bianche, a race he won in bombastic fashion in 2021. He will then ride through a full block of classics, including the cobblestone double-header of Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix.

The Dutch ace will then target a big summer centered around a return to the Tour de France, a race he twice started but never finished, and the August road worlds.

Van der Poel road program, 2023:

March 4: Strade Bianche
March 6: Tirreno-Adriatico
March 18: Milano-Sanremo
April 2: Tour of Flanders
April 9: Paris-Roubaix
June 11: Tour de Suisse
July 1: Tour de France
August 6: World championships road race