Nairo Quintana pulls out of Vuelta a España after tramadol positives

HAUTACAM FRANCE JULY 21 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas of Colombia and Team Arka Samsic competes while fans cheer during the 109th Tour de France 2022 Stage 18 a 1432km stage from Lourdes to Hautacam 1520m TDF2022 WorldTour on July 21 2022 in Hautacam France Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images
Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) won't be racing the Vuelta a España (Image credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Nairo Quintana has announced that he will not be taking part in the upcoming Vuelta a España following the news on Wednesday that he had been disqualified from the Tour de France following two positive tests for tramadol.

The Colombian, who was set to lead Arkéa-Samsic into the race, announced on Thursday morning that he wouldn't be taking part, even though he is permitted under UCI rules to do so.

He said that he would be fighting his Tour de France disqualification at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in a case which will test the UCI's tramadol ban (the drug isn't banned under WADA rules) as the first rider to fall foul of the medical rules.

"I announce that I will not participate in the Vuelta to assert my reasons before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)," Quintana said in a statement. "I will return to the race calendar at the end of the season."

Quintana raced to his best GC placing at the Tour since the 2016 edition, delivering a sixth place for Arkéa-Samsic. He tested positive for the opioid painkiller at La Planche des Belles Filles and the Col de Granon, having finished second at the latter mountain stage.

The 32-year-old issued a denial on Wednesday evening following news of his disqualification. He did, however, state that he would race the Vuelta, a decision which he appears to have reversed overnight.

"Today I have learned with surprise of the UCI’s announcement of an infraction for the use of tramadol. I am totally unaware of the use of this substance, and I deny having used it in my career," Quintana said.

"With my team of lawyers, we are exhausting all the processes for my defence. I also want to confirm that I will stay at the Vuelta, get on my bike and give the best of my ability for my team, for my country and for my supporters."

The UCI's ruling gave Quintana 10 days during which to appeal to CAS, an option he has now taken up and one which will take his focus away from racing and the Vuelta for the near future. It is unclear when Quintana may return to racing.

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