By John Ensor •
Published: 23 Sep 2023 • 14:29
Cyclist, Miguel Angel Lopez.
Credit: Team Medellin EMP/X
A professional cyclist with stage wins in the Tour de France and Vuelta España was kidnapped earlier this week.
Reports are emerging of how the 29-year-old Columbian, Miguel Angel ‘Superman’ Lopez, a professional cyclist, was subjected to a harrowing ordeal at the hands of robbers, according to El Tiempo.
To add to the cycling star’s woes, Lopez, a former Astana and Movistar rider, is currently under suspension by the UCI for an alleged doping violation.
Reportedly, the incident occurred around 5:00 pm local time on Thursday, September 21 at Lopez’s farm in Pesca. Three assailants held the cycling star captive for three hours, making away with his van, mobile phone, and a substantial sum in excess of $800,000.
‘They held him and stole his Ford van, a mobile phone and $800,000,’ disclosed Colonel Maria Margarita Mantilla, commander of the Boyaca Police Department.
After the kidnappers fled with Lopez’s belongings, he managed to reach a nearby police station and reported the crime around 10:30 pm. His current team, Team Medellin EPM, conveyed a message of unity: ‘We send a solidarity greeting to our runner @SupermanlopezN who in the last few hours was a victim of robbery.
‘We 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 team announced online.
Fans showed their support too, one messaged: ‘Totally with Miguel Angel. We expect a prompt response from the community and especially from our judicial branch. Lopez is a source of Colombian pride, and we must all support him to the last consequences. Tough hand to the scoundrels who assaulted him.’
While another simply put: ‘Cheer up superman!!! Everything will be fine.’
Before his suspension on July 25 this year, Lopez, a specialist climber, had been competing in South America. The suspension was due to a ‘potential anti-doping violation’ related to the 2022 Giro d’Italia, a race he had to abandon due to a supposed thigh injury on stage four.
Reports of an investigation into Lopez surfaced in July 2022, leading to his team, Astana terminating his contract in December. He had been provisionally suspended before competing in Vuelta a Burgos and the 2022 Vuelta a España.
Astana referred to a ‘probable connection’ with Dr Marcos Maynar, a professor at the University of Extremadura, who is currently under investigation.
This year, Lopez secured an impressive nine stage wins out of ten and one-second place, overall GC, points classification and climbing classification at the Vuelta a Colombia. However, the UCI announced his suspension following an investigation into events prior to the 2022 Giro.
Lopez has continued to maintain his innocence and has voiced his intention to take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
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