VN ticker: Miguel Ángel López on Astana exit, Giro d’Italia wild cards unveiled

Here's what's making headlines on Thursday, January 19.

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Miguel Ángel López: ‘It’s like as if I had died’

Miguel Ángel López recounted more details of his controversial departure from Astana-Qazaqstan late last year.

The Colombian was fired by the team after alleged links to an ongoing doping investigation in Spain, something López denies.

“When I left it’s as if I killed someone,” López told Colombian media. “Since the day I left until today, there hasn’t been a message from anyone on the team.

“I felt a bit strange because my relationship with the team dates back a decade,” he said. “Not even a hello, a how are you? How is the family? How are you coping?”

López is set to race the Vuelta a San Juan with his new squad Team Medellín.

“From the moment of my exit no one has had any communication with me, it’s as if I had died for them,” López said.

Giro d’Italia wild cards unveiled

Race organizer RCS has unveiled the wild cards for its spring WorldTour races, including the Giro d’Italia, Milan-San Remo, Strade Bianche, and Tirreno-Adriatico.

With Lotto Dstny deciding to skip the Giro d’Italia this year, three Italian teams have earned an invitation alongside the 18 top-tier teams. Eolo-Kometa, Green Project Bardiani CSF-Faizané, and nascent squad Team Corratec will race the first grand tour of the year, as will Israel-Premier Tech.

Eolo-Kometa, Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizané, Israel-Premier Tech, Q36.6 Pro Cycling, TotalEnergies, and Tudor have also all received entries for Milan-San Remo, Strade Bianche, and Tirreno-Adriatico. Meanwhile, Lotto Dstny will race San Remo and Strade Bianche, while has an invite to Tirren0-Adriatico.

The wildcards for the women’s Strade Bianche and the RCS’ other one-day races will be unveiled later this year.

Tour de la Provence canceled for 2023

The Tour de la Provence will not go ahead in 2023 after the French cycling federation (FFC) refused to sanction the race, saying that it had failed to fully meet the conditions required to register it on the calendar.

Organizers of the race, which was first held in 2016, have reportedly fallen behind on payments. Newswire service AFP reported late last month that over €100,000 ($108,000) was owed by the organizer to a range of groups, including France’s national cycling league and the police.

Joint race director Marion Rousse, who is the Tour de France Femmes race director, also left her position in early December.

“The Federal Appeals Board of the FCC noted that the conditions precedent to the registration of the Tour de la Provence in the UCI 2022 road calendar, established on December 23, 2022, are only partially fulfilled by the organizer. Therefore, the Council issued a negative opinion and informed the authorities of the League and the Federation. Consequently, the Tour de la Provence cannot be registered on the UCI 2023 road calendar.”

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.