‘Tendon inflammation’ sees Miguel Ángel López drop out of fourth Grand Tour in a row at Giro d’Italia

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CATANIA, Sicily (VN) – Astana Qazaqstan has given insight into what forced their captain Miguel Ángel López out of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday.

The Colombian classification contender came out of Stage 4 to Etna suffering from what the team initially described as hip problems.

Hours later, as the racing circus closed atop the scorching volcano, more information surfaced from the Astana team bubble.

“Miguel Ángel has had thigh problems for a few days already. We tried to do our best to solve it during the first stages in Budapest and during the rest day, but it didn’t work out,” said team doctor Emilio Magni. “Today, unfortunately, he had to stop. Our first diagnosis is inflammation of the tendon of the left quadriceps due to a probable overload or an old injury.

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Dropping López continues a series of big-touring DNFs that go back much further than López would like.

The first of four consecutive Grand Tour retirements came when a freak accident saw López exit on the first day of the 2020 Giro. An early exit from the 2021 Tour came next, and then was the dramatic start to the 2021 Vuelta a España in a torrent of intra-team tantrums.

This year’s Giro and a return to old friends Astana gave López a shot at grand tour redemption. Only the bane of any professional runner—the wear and tear of high-volume training—has paid its price.

“It’s really sad to end the Giro like this after only four days due to injury. The team staff did everything possible to help me recover these days, but it was impossible in racing conditions,” López said.

“I was hoping day by day that it would get better and that I could pass it, but today I just couldn’t press the pedals normally because of the pain in my thigh. I’m really sorry to leave the race and my teammates, who came here to help me fight for the general classification, but that’s cycling. I wish all the guys good luck and I hope the team has a good race !

So, what next for López and Astana?

“Superman” should fly again in the Tour de France this summer. The team is working to determine the cause of the problem and resolve it quickly.

“In the next few days, the rider will undergo a thorough medical examination to find the exact cause of the injury in order to start the appropriate treatment,” Magni said.

And for Astana? With co-leader Vincenzo Nibali also out of action after giving up time on top of Etna, Plans C, D, E and F will come into play.

“Obviously we will have to make adjustments to our plans,” said Astana sporting director Stefano Zanini. “We will take it day by day and face the race with peace of mind. This is something that can be discussed between the team leaders.

Scene chasers like American star Joe Dombrowski will see their chance to shine.

“The Giro is long and if things open up to three weeks, and if there’s an opportunity to take a stage to target a stage, for sure I will,” Dombrowski said.

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