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MPCC rules complicate future for Nairo Quintana

Corratec officials deny that Colombian star will join team after Giro d'Italia invite.

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It appears another door is closing on Nairo Quintana.

Despite media reports that the Colombian was poised to join the second-tier Corratec team and possibly race the Giro d’Italia, officials told Colombian media Quintana will not be joining the team.

“It would take a miracle for us to sign him,” team manager Sergio Parsani told Revista Mundo Ciclístico. “ASO also asked us to sign up to [MPCC] and right now it would be difficult for us to make a deal with Nairo.”

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Parsani said not only does the new Italian squad not have the money to sign Quintana, but he also pointed out a conflict with the MPCC.

Parsani said officials from ASO and RCS, the organizers of both the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, respectively, encouraged the team to sign on with the anti-doping advocacy group.

Part of the rules for the MPCC — Movement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible — prevent teams from signing riders coming off a sanction.

Quintana’s case is in a legal grey area, and he is not facing a racing ban or prevented from competing, yet he is having difficulty finding a contract for 2023.

Quintana tested positive for traces of tramadol — the powerful painkiller that will be banned in competition in 2024 — and saw the UCI erase his results from the 2022 Tour de France.

Tramadol is currently banned in competition by the UCI and is not considered an anti-doping violation under WADA current rules. Quintana challenged the case to the CAS but lost on appeal. Quintana is not facing a racing ban or other sanctions.

The MPCC rules — which apply only to teams participating in the advocacy group — are the latest hurdle for Quintana’s quest to find a team.

The two-time grand tour winner, who saw a contract extension revoked by Arkéa-Samsic in the wake of the tramadol case, remains without a pro contract for 2023.

Despite providing hints that he was poised to join a major European team for 2023, team after team has denied their intentions to sign Quintana. If MPCC teams are hesitant to sign Quintana, perhaps only non-MPCC teams will remain a possibility.

Colombian third-tier squad Team Medellín — which recently signed Miguel Ángel López — has also offered Quintana a lifeline.

“It would require that the UCI give Nairo a hand to allow him to sign with a WorldTour squad,” Parsani said. “We are in the MPCC, and only teams like Soudal Quick-Step, UAE, and others who are not in the MPCC could sign him.

“No one’s told him he cannot race because he is not sanctioned by the UCI,” Parsani said. “It would take a miracle for us to sign him, and not even the Pope can do that, so it’s looking very difficult.”