Astana-Qazaqstan has announced this morning that their Colombian climber, Miguel Ángel López has been suspended due to reports in Spanish media of his links to a controversial doctor currently under police investigation.
According to reports from Spanish media source Ciclo 21, López was intercepted by agents from the Central Operation Unit (UCO), part of the Guardia Civil at Madrid-Barajas airport after arriving on a flight from Colombia earlier this week.
Allegedly the rider has been previously implicated in the case of Marcos Maynar Mariño, although it is now believed that police are considering changing his status in the case from being a witness to someone who is under investigation.
The 28-year-old rider nicknamed ‘Superman’ is now suspended by his team over the reports whilst they investigate the circumstances further.
Astana-Qazaqstan released a short statement via social media which read:
“The news that was spread in the media yesterday evening caught us by surprise, and at the moment we do not have any details. In this regard, the team decided to suspend Miguel Angel Lopez from any activity within the team until all the circumstances of the case are clarified.”
Marcos Maynar Mariño, a Professor at the University of Extremadura has been under investigation in Spain for alleged drug trafficking and money laundering for some time, and Lopez being linked to the doctor is alarming.
Furthermore, Mariño has a murky past within the world of sport after being caught up in multiple doping cases. According to Ciclo 21, the doctor has been linked with cases of alleged doping in basketball, volleyball and football as well as having links to cycling and the doping of riders at the past Italian team, Fassa Bortolo.
Ciclo 21 also claim that the Colombian rider has been previously linked with the ‘Maynar’ case.
News of the rider being intercepted by Spanish authorities led to Astana-Qazaqstan suspending the Colombian whilst they investigate matters further.
This is far from the first time that controversy has surrounded ‘Superman’ López. Due to a falling out with Movistar team management, he abandoned the Vuelta a Espana last year despite sitting third overall. At the time López had missed an important split in one of the final stages, but was instructed by team management not to chase down the group as another Movistar rider, Enric Mas, had managed to get ahead. López abandoned the race in protest, refusing to continue.
One of the top riders on the Astana-Qazaqstan team, and a past winner of the Tour de Suisse and Volta a Catalunya. He has also taken stage victories in the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana and finished on the podium at the Giro d’Italia. López recently moved back to the team after a difficult spell at Movistar.
According to reports, López will appear in court in Cáceres next Monday in relation to investigations.
Mariño was arrested by police earlier in the year on 11 May, at the same time that ‘Superman’ had abandoned the Giro d’Italia, and was ordered to report to court every two weeks. In 2004, the Spanish doctor was investigated by the Guardia Civil over the online sale of steroids and they then found doping substances in his home. The Professor was able to avoid repercussions at the time by claiming they were for ‘research purposes’ associated with his University work.
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