Nairo Quintana’s bid to overturn his disqualification from this year’s Tour de France has reached the next phase.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Switzerland has begun its examination of the matter after Quintana appealed the UCI decision to it.
The Colombian rider took sixth overall as well as second and fifth on stages in the Tour, but had those results stripped by the UCI last month when it announced he had tested positive for tramadol.
The opiate painkiller is not banned by WADA but the UCI introduced bans on its use under its health protocol in 2019. It said that the analysis of two dried blood samples provided by the rider on 8 and 13 July revealed the presence of tramadol and its two main metabolites.
Quintana lost his Tour results and was hit with a fine of CHF 5,000. He denied ever using tramadol and said he would take a case to CAS.
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That court issued a statement Thursday confirming the appeal was now in progress.
“The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has registered the appeal filed by the Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana against the decision issued by the UCI Medical Director on 17 August 2022 (the Challenged Decision) in which he was found to have infringed the UCI Medical Rules (presence of tramadol in-competition) and sanctioned with the disqualification of the results he obtained at the Tour de France 2022 and a fine of CHF 5,000,” it said in a statement.
“The CAS arbitration has commenced. There will be an exchange of written submissions while the Panel
of arbitrators that will decide the matter is being appointed. Once constituted, the Panel will issue
procedural directions to the parties, including with respect to the holding of a hearing.”
The court added that at this moment is not possible to indicate when the final decision will be announced.
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Quintana signed a new three-year deal with Arkéa-Samsic on August 16, just a day before the UCI issued its statement announcing his disqualification from the Tour de France. The Colombian climber has denied using tramadol and said that the positive tests had come as a “surprise.”
“Today I realized by surprise the news from the UCI of an infraction for the use of tramadol,” he said. “I am totally unaware of the use of this substance, and I deny ever using it during my career.
“With my legal team we will exhaust every means to prepare my defense.”
He pledged then to compete in the Vuelta a España but then announced the following day he would miss the race in order to concentrate on his CAS appeal. He has not raced since the Tour de France.