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Bahrain Victorious denies rumors Nairo Quintana is joining team

Colombian star hints over the weekend he will 'race in the WorldTour' in 2023 but the team is not yet revealed.

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Bahrain Victorious officials are denying rumors that Nairo Quintana is set to join the WorldTour team in 2023.

A team official told VeloNews on Sunday that rumors making the rounds on social media of Quintana’s arrival are “not true.”

Over the weekend, Quintana assured fans and media that he would be racing in the WorldTour in 2023.

That immediately raised speculation about which team the 32-year-old Colombian might be joining.

Also readNairo Quintana on his future: ‘I will race in the WorldTour’

Some surmised that his long history with Movistar, where Quintana raced from 2012 through 2019, could see a return to the Spanish WorldTour team, but officials there say the roster is full for 2023.

Rumors also churned this weekend that Quintana could join Bahrain Victorious, but officials quickly shot that down Sunday.

Officials did not reveal if there was contact between Quintana and Bahrain Victorious representatives.

Bahrain Victorious, which is pushing back against high-profile police searches ahead of the 2022 Tour de France, brings on seven new riders for 2023.

Set to join are Andrea Pasqualo (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Nikias Arndt (DSM), Dušan Rajović (Corratec), Fran Miholjević (Friuli), Rainer Kopplingar (Hrinkow), Cameron Scott (ARA), and Sergio Tu (Friuli).

With 27 riders on the roster, there would be room for Quintana. The team currently sees Colombian rider Santiago Buitrago on its 2023 roster.

The core group of riders remains for 2023, with a few key departures, including Luis León Sánchez returning to Astana-Qazaqstan, Dylan Teuns to Israel Premie Tech, Jan Tratnik to Jumbo-Visma, and Domen Novak to UAE Team Emirates.

Sonny Colbrelli, the 2021 Paris-Roubaix winner, retires but will stay on with the team for two more years as a consultant.

Quintana, speaking at an event ahead of his gran fondo event in Colombia this weekend, thanked Team Medellín EPM, a continental-level squad that offered him a lifeline, but hinted that his racing future is secure.

Quintana, 32, lost an appeal in November over a tramadol case that saw him disqualified from his 2022 Tour de France results after two anti-doping controls revealed traces of the opioid painkiller.

Tramadol won’t be on the WADA prohibited list until 2024, but the UCI bans its use during competition.

Quintana lost his Tour results, but does not face any other sanction or ban, and is free to resume competition.

“I am going to keep pushing forward and I will continue racing in the WorldTour,” Quintana told the media Friday.

“Things didn’t turn out the way I would have liked, but I defended myself,” Quintana said of the CAS appeal. “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I will keep fighting and keep turning the pedals.”