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The Colombian star confirmed Thursday he will not start the Vuelta on Friday even though he is allowed to race under UCI rules.
“I communicate that I will not participate in the Vuelta to assert my reasons before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), I will return to the calendar races at the end of the season,” Quintana said in a short statement.
The announcement is the latest in a fast-developing story involving the Arkéa-Samsic star and charges leveled by the UCI medical team that Quintana tested twice for traces of tramadol during the 2022 Tour.
- UCI strips Quintana of Tour results for alleged tramadol use
- Nairo Quintana extends with WorldTour-bound Arkéa-Samsic
- UCI to start testing for painkiller tramadol at Paris-Nice
- Quintana denies tramadol use
Tramadol, an opioid painkiller, is not banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, but its use is prohibited in competition by the UCI.
The UCI announced the bombshell news Wednesday, and stripped Quintana of his 2022 Tour results that included second in the decisive stage to Col du Granon and sixth overall in Paris.
Because tramadol is not on the WADA list as a banned product, however, Quintana is allowed to continue racing and he is not facing a formal disciplinary ban or sanction.
Quintana denied he used tramadol, and vowed overnight Wednesday to take the fight to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“Today I realized by surprise the news from the UCI of an infraction for the use of tramadol,” Quintana said Wednesday evening. “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.
Quintana did a U-turn on his intention of racing the Vuelta, however, and confirmed Thursday he will not start the Spanish grand tour on Friday in the Netherlands.
Under UCI rules, Quintana has 10 days to file an appeal to CAS against the charges.
The news comes as the 32-year-old Quintana enjoyed a revival in the 2022 Tour, and he signed a three-year contract extension with Arkéa-Samsic this week.
Arkéa-Samsic officials released a short statement Wednesday recognizing the UCI’s ruling, but did not offer further comment.