This article originally appeared on Bike News

Despite a contract for next season, Miguel Angel Lopez would try to leave Astana-Qazaqstan and ride for a new team in 2023.

According to a report on the Spanish site ZiklolandLopez and Astana’s relationship isn’t as smooth as it once was after the biker became involved in a drug smuggling investigation.

Astana temporarily suspended Lopez after news broke that he had been questioned by Spanish police as part of an investigation into Dr. Marcos Maynar over drug trafficking and money laundering.

The Colombian has strenuously denied any involvement in any crimes and has been reinstated in the team’s racing program. At the time, Astana said it was “not in a position” to “further deprive” Lopez of his contractual right to race in the absence of any conclusion from the Spanish authorities of cycling’s governing body, the ‘UCI.

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Lopez had only returned to Astana this season after a failed move to Movistar in 2021. The 28-year-old appeared to be settling in well with the Spanish side and signed a two-year extension shortly before the Vuelta a Espana of this year.

However, the relationship between the rider and the team fell apart catastrophically on the penultimate stage following a disagreement that saw Lopez get off the bike and drop out of the race in dramatic fashion.

He returned to Astana on a two-year contract, but that could also end prematurely if Lopez can find a way out of his current deal. Lopez was Astana’s best player this season and finished fourth in the Vuelta a Espana.

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