EDIT: It was originally reported the sum of money taken was $800,000. There have been conflicting reports, some news outlets suggesting the actual amount was 800,000 pesos ($200), which appears to be the true amount taken.
Miguel Angel López was the victim of a kidnapping and robbery in Colombia this week, news reports from the South American country revealing that the pro rider, currently suspended by the UCI for an anti-doping violation, was held against his will for three hours as his attackers stole money and other possessions.
According to El Tiempo, the incident unfolded at around 5pm local time on Thursday at López's farm in Pesca, three men robbing the 29-year-old of his van, a mobile phone and money. The exact amount stolen has been disputed, El Tiempo saying "$800.000", while L'Équipe and Marca have suggested the sum is 800,000 pesos ($200). The majority of reports from cycling-specific news outlets had suggested the amount is $800,000, however the 800,000 pesos sum is believed to be correct.
With the attackers making off with López's possessions he was able to get to a local police station and report the crime at around 10.30pm.
López's current team, Team Medellín EPM, sent a message of solidarity to their rider on social media, saying they "invite Colombians to come together around our idol and give him all the support he needs at this time. We are with you, champion."
The climber, who formerly raced for Astana and Movistar, had been racing in South America this season, that was before he was suspended by the UCI in July over a "potential anti-doping violation" relating to the build-up to the 2022 Giro d'Italia, a race López ultimately left due to an apparent thigh injury on stage four.
Reports had first emerged of the investigation into López during July 2022, Astana Qazaqstan ultimately terminating his contract in December. He had been provisionally suspended by the team before returning to action at Vuelta a Burgos and the 2022 Vuelta a España, his last Grand Tour before returning to Colombia.
This year had seen López enjoy a prolific winning reign, the highlight of which was his utterly surreal nine stage wins out of ten and one second place, overall GC, points classification and climbing classification at his home race, the Vuelta a Colombia, before the UCI announced he had been suspended following an investigation into the events prior to the 2022 Giro.
When Astana terminated his contract they referred to a "probable connection" with Dr Marcos Maynar, a doctor being investigated.
In July, the UCI said: "Based on an investigation conducted by the International Testing Agency (ITA), including evidence obtained from the Spanish law enforcement authorities (Guardia Civil) and the Spanish Anti-Doping Organisation (CELAD) during the investigation into Dr Marcos Maynar, the UCI has today notified Miguel Angel Lopez of a potential anti-doping rule violation (ADRV).
"After review of the information and material provided by the ITA on 26 June and 7 July 2023, the Colombian rider has been notified of a potential ADRV for use and possession of a prohibited substance in the weeks prior to the Giro d’Italia 2022. The UCI has decided to provisionally suspend the rider pending the final decision."
López has always maintained his innocence and has expressed his desire to take his case with Astana to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.