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The controversy-stalked Colombian crashed out of the second stage of the New Mexico-based race and was forced to abandon while wearing the leader’s jersey.
López rocked the peloton with a dominant win in the opening climbing stage of the Gila and pedaled into Thursday’s test with a 59-second advantage in the classification.
However, his time in the red leader’s jersey was brief.
López came down with a handful others in the opening hour of Thursday’s stage out of Fort Bayard and abandoned with deep road rash to his hip, thigh, and forearm.
“We inform you that after the medical check-ups, after today’s fall, Miguel Ángel López does not present any fractures,” his Medellín EPM team later wrote.
“The next few days will be recovery for our rider.”
Primeras imágenes de las lesiones sufridas por Supermán 😱
En la valoración inicial no parece tener fracturas. Sin embargo, será sometido a exámenes médicos para descartar cualquier problema. Esperamos que todo salga bien y deseamos una pronta recuperación.
Fuerza campeón 💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/wpo5KMfMeB
— Team Medellín EPM (@team_medellin) April 27, 2023
For López, the incident marks just a small chapter in a career riddled with highs, lows, and a fair sprinkle of controversy.
The now-29-year-old climbed toward the top of the WorldTour through the back-half of last decade with a string of top-six grand tour finishes.
With stage wins at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, he was heralded one of the brightest stars of the new wave of Colombian talent spearheaded by Rigoberto Urán and Nairo Quintana.
However, that was overshadowed by his dramatic exit from the 2021 Vuelta and subsequent dismissal by Team Movistar.
López is now racing with the Medellín team after the Continental outfit offered him something of a career liferaft. He was sacked last December by Astana Qazaqstan for alleged links to a doping ring and was only scooped up by Medellín at the turn of this year.
“Superman” was last known to be attempting to sue his Kazakh former employers for damages resulting from the fallout.
Torbjørn Andre Røed (Above&Beyond Cancer Cycling) now moves into the GC lead of the five-stage race, with a bunch of Canel’s Zerouno and Project Echelon riders close behind.
Marcela Prieto (Prato Bike BMC) had a slim lead over Austin Killips (Amy D Foundation) in the women’s race.