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Quintana: ‘I can assure everyone that we will be in the Tour de France’

Despite the Colombian's new team Arkéa-Samsic not deemed eligible for a WorldTour license, Quintana confident he will line up in France.

Nairo Quintana will be at next year’s Tour de France, even if his new team isn’t among cycling’s WorldTour.

The UCI confirmed Thursday the 19 teams that are eligible to be part of the WorldTour top league and with the guarantee of starting the Tour and other top races, and Quintana’s Arkéa-Samsic isn’t among them. Speaking to journalists in Colombia ahead of a gran fondo event, the Colombian star assured fans he will be in the Tour next year.

“I am not going to speak a lot about this right now, but I can assure everyone that we will be in the Tour de France,” Quintana said. “I am very satisfied with the team, with the new signings, and I can say that the team is better organized and structured than many other teams in the WorldTour.”

Quintana said he was not worried about missing out on racing the Tour next year in his high-profile move from Movistar, where he raced eight seasons, to the French second-tier team which will race in the newly branded ProTeam league for 2020. Those teams will have to wait for wild-card invitations for the major races, but Quintana expressed confidence the French outfit will earn a spot in the Tour.

Quintana, 29, confirmed he will make his season debut at the Tour de San Juan in January and race in the Colombia Tour 2.0 in February, which includes stages in his home region high in the Colombian Andes.

“I cannot say much more about the season except that I will have a good calendar for me and I will race in events that favor me,” he said. Quintana was also hesitant to speak about his time at Movistar.

“Everyone talks about what happened, but the only ones who truly know are those of us on the inside,” he said. “I will always be thankful for Movistar for those eight years. It was always an honor to cross the line with the Movistar colors — I suffered, I cried and I had many incredible highs and lows, but they were the eight most important years of my sporting career.”