Astana-Premier Tech, which will become Astana Qazaqstan next season, has announced that Miguel Ángel López will return to the team in 2022 on a two-year deal, confirming weeks of rumors.
López joined Movistar this season after six season at Astana, but his stint with the squad would prove to be short-lived. After the 27-year-old Colombian abandoned the Vuelta a España on the penultimate stage, reports emerged suggesting that rider and team might part ways, and Movistar announced shortly thereafter that López would leave the team on October 1.
It was also widely reported that López would be heading back to the Astana organization, which the team confirmed on Friday.
“Miguel Ángel López 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 to Astana Team,” he said. “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.”
López counts six Grand Tour top 10s on his palmares, finishing on the overall podium of both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta in 2018, he has won four Grand Tour stages in his career, and has taken WorldTour one-week victories at the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour de Suisse.
“Coming back to the Astana team is a return home. 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. Sometimes it is a good one, sometimes not,” López said. “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. There is a lot of work ahead for the new season to be successful for me and for Astana Qazaqstan Team.”
López’s return to Astana coincides with several other comings and goings. Vincenzo Nibali will also return to the team after a stint elsewhere, and other signings include Gianni Moscon, David de la Cruz, and Joe Dombrowski, while Jakob Fuglsang, Ion and Gorka Izagirre, and Aleksandr Vlasov are among the notables leaving the team.