Miguel Ángel López returns to Astana following turbulent year with Movistar

The Colombian climber had his contract terminated by Movistar after he abandoned the Vuelta a España 2021

Miguel Ángel López
(Image credit: Getty)

Miguel Ángel López will re-join Astana in 2022 after his contract was terminated by Movistar, the Kazakh team has confirmed.

López's contract was halted by the Spanish outfit after the Colombian decided he wanted to abandon the Vuelta a España due to missing a group that ultimately decided the general classification on the final road stage of the race.

This came after López had already put pen to paper on a two-year contract extension before the Vuelta, but the reaction to missing the vital split went down poorly within the ranks of the Spanish team.

Movistar rider, Imanol Erviti, revealed that he tried and tried to get López back riding saying: "I tried to convince him that he should do it for the commitment to the team, for his team-mates who were there, and because he had also quit the Tour de France, he would regret it later."

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But it was to no avail and López left the race and with it, Movistar too.

López said in the Astana transfer announcement: "Coming back to the Astana team is a return home. In the world of professional cycling, a rider who wants to keep on moving forward sometimes has to change something in his career, to gain new experience. Sometimes it is a good one, sometimes not. 

"The main thing is that I am coming home to my team, the team that gave me so much and with which, I am sure, we will be able to live many more wonderful moments. There is a lot of work ahead for the new season to be successful for me and for Astana Qazaqstan Team."

López spent six seasons at Astana before moving to Movistar, now signing a two-year contract to return to the team from Kazakhstan.

Astana general manager, Alexandr Vinokourov, said: "Miguel Ángel López is a rider who grew up and achieved his greatest successes in our team, and therefore I am happy that after a short break he is making his return to Astana Team. 

"Over the past year, Miguel Ángel has gained serious experience, which, perhaps, he lacked in our team. I think that this experience, both good and not so good, will help him to continue his development. 

"López proved that he is still one of the strongest riders in the world, continuing to win at the highest level, so it is great that Miguel Ángel will continue his career in Astana Qazaqstan Team."