Cycling-Colombian Lopez provisionally reinstated by Astana after probe


FILE PHOTO: Cycling - Tour de France - Stage 20 - Lure to La Planche des Belles Filles - France - September 19, 2020. Astana Pro Team rider Miguel Angel Lopez of Colombia in action. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/File Photo

(Reuters) - Colombian rider Miguel Angel Lopez has been provisionally reinstated by his Astana-Qazaqstan team after an internal suspension following media reports linking him to a drug trafficking case in Spain.

Spanish website Ciclo21 reported last month that police in Spain were scrutinising his connections to Marcos Maynar, a professor at the University of Extremadura who is under investigation for alleged drug trafficking and money laundering.

"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 (cycling governing body), it was not in a position to continue the suspension or further deprive the rider of his contractual rights," the team said in a statement on Monday.

"Miguel Angel Lopez 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 Espana)."

The team also said they had forwarded all the information received to the International Testing Agency (ITA), which is in charge of anti-doping investigations on behalf of UCI.

"The team will monitor the situation closely and will not hesitate to take resolute measures depending on the development of the situation," the statement added.

The 28-year-old Lopez, who is one of Astana's top riders, has not competed since withdrawing from stage four of the Giro d'Italia in May with a hip injury.

He has previously won stages on the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana and is a past winner of the Tour de Suisse and the Volta a Catalunya.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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