• Miguel Angel Lopez of Astana Pro Team (Getty)Source: Getty
Astana Qazaqstan have confirmed the re-signing of Miguel Angel López for the next two seasons, after a tumultuous 2021 at Movistar saw the Colombian spectacularly abandon the Vuelta a Espana early despite being third on GC.
By
SBS Cycling Central

16 Oct - 9:53 AM 

López failed to follow other GC contenders on the tough climbs in the second half of Stage 20, disembarking into the Movistar team car in frustration shortly after being ridden out of podium contention, shocking the cycling world.

The Colombian's contract was dissolved a few weeks after on October 1, officially spelling the end of a mixed year where he won Vuelta a Andalucia and the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge, but had disappointing results on the WorldTour circuit with an abandon at the Tour de France coupled with his Vuelta saga.

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Fortunately, Astana were more than happy to engineer an immediate return for López to the team where he began his pro cycling career in 2015.

"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," López said in a statement on the team website. "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."

López experienced considerable success in his first stint with Astana, finishing on the podium of the 2018 Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana before a stunning victory atop Col de la Loze in his 2020 Tour de France debut had him poised for another top-3 place before a disastrous time trial performance.

"Miguel Angel Lopez 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," said team manager Alexandre Vinokourov.

"Over the past year, Miguel Angel 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.

"Lopez 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 Angel will continue his career in Astana Qazaqstan Team."

The Colombian's return marks another signing in what's been a very busy offseason for Astana, having already secured the services of Vincenzo Nibali, Gianni Moscon (formerly INEOS Grenadiers), Joe Dombrowski and David de la Cruz (both formerly UAE Team Emirates).

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