Miguel Ángel López will leave Astana as team can’t afford him

The Colombian has been a promising, if inconsistent, Grand Tour contender  

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Miguel Ángel López will be leaving Astana at the end of the season because the team can’t afford him. 

Astana’s team boss Alexander Vinokourov has said he will have to let the Colombian go as the budget will not stretch to an extension for the Grand Tour star, according to ProSports.kz

López, 26, has become a promising three-week contender since turning pro with the Kazakhstani squad in 2015, but has been inconsistent in recent seasons. 

In the 2020 Tour, his debut in the race, López quietly gained places over the opening two weeks, before he made his decisive move on stage 18 to the Col de la Loze. 

Breaking away in the final kilometres, López took the stage win on the brutal climb and put himself on the podium in the process.

But his form failed him on the stage 20 time trial, as he finished six minutes down on winner Tadej Pogačar and slipped back to sixth place overall. 

He said: “ It was a hard day for me, I did all I could, but I admit that it was a bad day.

“Someone always has something to lose and today it was me who lost the race. 

“I did a good race. During all three weeks I was up there among the best riders, fighting for the podium and today I started aiming the podium, but it did not work out. 

“I just missed one day to reach my goal. However, I am happy to be here at the final of my first Tour de France.”

Astana, funded by the Kazakhstani government, has faced repeated financial difficult in recent years, including in March when Vinokourov confirmed that riders and staff had not been paid since the start of 2020.  The team faced similar problems in 2018 when their funding arrived late, with riders told to "continue as normal."

López has shown potential as a possible Grand Tour winner, particularly in 2018 when he finished on the podium of both the Vuelta a España and the Giro d’Italia.

But the question is now whether his next team will back him as an outright leader over three weeks.  

>>> ‘He was so fit I asked him not to touch the bike for a week’: Tadej Pogačar’s coach on the Tour de France winner’s remarkable form

López will be racing the World Championships in Italy this weekend as part of the Colombian squad before heading to the Giro d’Italia to support his team-mate Jakob Fuglsang.    

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