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Quintana undergoes double knee surgery

GRAND COLOMBIER FRANCE SEPTEMBER 13 Nairo Quintana Rojas of Colombia and Team Arkea Samsic Grand Colombier 1501m during the 107th Tour de France 2020 Stage 15 a 1745km stage from Lyon to Grand Colombier 1501m TDF2020 LeTour on September 13 2020 in Grand Colombier France Photo by Michael SteeleGetty Images
Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) climbs the Grand Colombier during stage 15 of the 2020 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Nairo Quintana has undergone surgery on both knees and will now begin a recovery process ahead of the 2021 season. 

The Colombian's 2020 campaign – his first with second-division French squad Arkéa-Samsic – started brightly, but his main objective of the Tour de France was derailed by the pair of knee injuries. 

First, he fell on his right knee after being hit by a driver in Colombia before he travelled to Europe ahead of the Tour, and he then injured his left knee during the race itself in a crash on stage 13. 

Quintana finished the Tour but hasn't raced since and has called an end to his season. He initially suggested there was a fracture in one of his kneecaps but, before going under the knife in Lyon, France on Wednesday, he explained the injuries both relate to the cartilage underneath.

"We've done some physio, but in the end we've had to do a small surgical procedure on the two knees, because the cartilage is broken in places," Quintana said in a video message.

"It was better to have a small operation so as to have a much quicker and safer recovery."

The former Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España winner also gave an indication that he won't be out for long, possibly in response to reports in the Colombian press quoting a doctor who said cartilage injuries can take several months to recover fully from. 

"A few days off the bike then I'll start on rehabilitation so that next year I'm strong and it's a year of success for all of us."

Quintana, whose Tour de France was soured further by a doping investigation into him and his team, will return to Colombia next week to spend the winter off-season at home.