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Nairo Quintana ends season for probable surgery on injured knee

Nairo Quintana races into Paris on the final stage of the 2020 Tour de France, but it was later discovered that the Arkéa-Samsic leader has fractured his kneecap in one of his multiple crashes during the season
Nairo Quintana races into Paris on the final stage of the 2020 Tour de France, but it was later discovered that the Arkéa-Samsic leader has fractured his kneecap in one of his multiple crashes during the season (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Arkéa-Samsic's Nairo Quintana has called an end to his rollercoaster 2020 season, and will likely now undergo surgery on what has been confirmed to be a fractured patella on his left knee following multiple crashes this year.

Quintana first injured his left knee when he was hit by a car while training at home in Colombia at the start of July. After a short time to recover, the 30-year-old resumed training and returned to Europe, taking part in the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge, the Tour de l'Ain and the Critérium du Dauphiné. However, he quit the Dauphiné on the final stage, complaining of knee pain.

Quintana again recovered in time for the Tour de France, but a number of crashes – notably on stage 13 – antagonised his knee, and he dropped from fifth place overall to ninth on stage 15 from Lyon to the Grand Colombier, which was the same stage on which compatriot and 2019 Tour winner Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) also conceded his title.

Although Quintana finished the Tour in Paris – in 17th place overall – he hasn't raced since, and confirmed on Wednesday that it had been discovered that he'd fractured his kneecap and was likely to undergo surgery.

"I have broken the patella on my left knee, which will possibly need surgery in order for me to be back to my best next year again," Quintana said in a video published on Twitter on Wednesday, according to Colombian newspaper El Tiempo.

"It was an unforgettable year for many of us," Quintana said, presumably referring to his crashes and injuries, the worldwide coronavirus pandemic and the fact that his season had started so well with stage victories and the overall titles at both the Tour de la Provence and the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, as well as the final stage of Paris-Nice, ahead of competition being stopped due to the COVID-19 crisis.

"The knee injuries continue," he added. "After my crashes, recovery has not been easy."

Quintana's Tour de France finished on a further sour note when his Arkéa-Samsic hotel was searched by France's Central Office for Combating Environmental and Public Health Damage (OCLAESP) following stage 17.

A team doctor and soigneur were taken into custody, but later released, while Nairo and his brother, Dayer, volunteered for questioning, after which Nairo stated: "On that day, the authorities entered my room and seized vitamin supplements that were perfectly legal, although perhaps not familiar to the French authorities. This is the main reason why it has taken time to clear up everything that happened.

"To avoid any doubt, I would like to confirm that no doping substances were ever found," Quintana wrote in a statement. "I have never used doping substances and no illegal substances were found in the police investigation."