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CAS dismisses Nairo Quintana appeal against Tour de France disqualification

Quintana's sixth-place finish overall was voided after he tested positive for tramadol twice during the race.

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Nairo Quintana‘s disqualification from the Tour de France will stand after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) dismissed his appeal against the punishment.

The Colombian was disqualified by the UCI after he tested positive for the pain killer tramadol in two separate anti-doping tests during this year’s Tour de France. While the drug is not yet banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), it is due to be banned from 2024. It is already banned under the UCI’s medical rules for safety reasons.

Quintana appealed the ruling but CAS issued a statement Thursday saying it was satisfied with the scientific evidence provided by the UCI and that his samples had contained tramadol.

“The Panel deliberated and determined that the UCI’s in-competition ban on tramadol was for medical rather than doping reasons and was therefore within the UCI’s power and jurisdiction,” the CAS statement read. “Furthermore, the Panel was comfortably satisfied that the scientific evidence showed that Nairo Quintana’s samples contained both tramadol and its two metabolites. On this basis, the Panel concluded that the Challenged Decision should stand, and dismissed the appeal.”

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Quintana is the first rider to have tested positive for tramadol since the UCI banned it in 2019 and his case was a strong testing of the rules.

His positive tests came from blood samples taken on July 8 and 13. Since it is banned under the UCI’s medical rules, it does not come with a suspension but a rider’s results can be voided following a positive.

Tramadol is an opioid painkiller and can cause side effects such as nausea, drowsiness, and loss of concentration. Studies showed that its use was growing in the peloton and the UCI decided to ban it following concerns that it was causing crashes in the peloton.

“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) welcomes today’s decision rendered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirming the disqualification of Colombian rider Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas from the 2022 Tour de France for an infringement of the in-competition ban on using tramadol,” a UCI statement said.

“This decision reinforces the validity of the tramadol ban in the UCI Medical Regulations in order to protect the health and safety of riders.”

Quintana has only raced once — at the world championships — since news about his case broke on the eve of the Vuelta a España. He pulled out of the Spanish grand tour to focus on appealing his disqualification.

A day prior to the news breaking, Arkéa-Samsic had announced a new three-year deal with Quintana. However, it has since said that nothing had been signed and Quintana confirmed that he had left the team last month.

He is now without a contract for 2023 and this latest news will be a blow to his chances of securing a team for next year.