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Cyclist Superman López, suspended for four years for doping

The International Cycling Union (UCI) has announced the suspension of Miguel Angel "Superman" Lopez for a period of four years due to a anti-doping rule violation.

The sanction, which began on July 25, 2023 and will extend until July 24, 2027, derives from the investigation carried out by the Spanish Civil Guard within the framework of the so-called “Operation Ílex”

The substance in question, menotropin, known commercially as HMG Lepori, is a hormone used in female fertility treatments, but prohibited in sports due to its anabolic effects.

The violation was detected during the first days of the 2022 Giro d'Italia, where López was competing representing the Astana team.

The investigation and those involved

Operation Ílex, led by the Central Operational Unit (UCO) of the Civil Guard, revealed a series of WhatsApp communications between the doctor Marcos Maynar, the former cycling director Vicente Belda and his son, also named Vicente, who worked as a masseuse at Astana.

The conversations detailed the sending of menotropin vials from Cáceres to Alicante, with the intention that Belda Jr. would transport them to Budapest to administer them to López before the first stage of the Giro.

Consequences and reactions

The impact of this substance on López's performance was so negative that the cyclist was forced to withdraw from the Giro after the fourth stage.

Subsequently, the International Testing Agency (ITA), in collaboration with the UCI and the Spanish Anti-Doping Organization (CELAD), collected compelling evidence that led to López's sanction.

López, who had moved from Team Astana to Team Medellín and won competitions such as the Vuelta a San Juan and the Vuelta a Colombia in 2023, now faces an uncertain future in professional cycling.

The possibility of a lifetime ban has been mentioned, although for the moment the suspension remains at four years.

Statements by Superman López

On his Instagram account, López expressed his disagreement with the sanction imposed by the UCI.

"Today I was informed about the decision of the UCI and the sanction of suspension for four years.

I deeply disagree with it, understanding that it distances itself from previous decisions made by the Spanish courts and the CAS itself.

I insist on maintaining the existence of a violation based on the interpretation of conversations that were biased and manipulated.

I understand that the violation is non-existent and the sanction unjustified. I will immediately appeal to the UCI and defend my innocence as I have always done, I am confident of returning to the competitive world of cycling.

I thank the people who support me, all the positive messages from the fans and the continued support of my team and my family"

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