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Nairo Quintana racing UCI Road World Championships in return from tramadol dispute

Quintana hasn't raced since the Tour de France in the wake of the bombshell allegations leveled by the UCI.

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Nairo Quintana is racing the UCI Road World Championships for Colombia in his first competition since the UCI leveled allegations that he used the painkiller tramadol during the Tour de France in July.

Quintana skipped a planned start at the Vuelta a España to prepare a legal case that was presented to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to dispute the tramadol charges, which he denies using.

Quintana, 32, did not mention the pending CAS case in comments before leaving for Australia.

“The bikes are prepared, and the luggage is packed to travel to the worlds,” Quintana said. “We’ve been doing good work, building our base to arrive in good condition. We have a good group, and we will give it our all, and for sure we’ll make a good race.”

The Arkéa-Samsic rider will lead the Colombian team in Wollongong that also includes Harold Tejada, Juan Sebastian Molano, Wilson Peña, Sergio Higuita, and Rodrigo Contreras.

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Some other Colombian riders are being held back from racing the worlds by their respective trade teams as several squads are in a down-to-the-wire battle for UCI points in order to secure WorldTour licenses in 2023.

Quintana denies using tramadol, waiting on CAS

Nairo Quintana showed glimpses of his former best during the Tour de France, and denies using tramadol. (Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Quintana hasn’t raced since the Tour in the wake of the bombshell allegations leveled by the UCI that the Colombian tested for traces of tramadol in routine doping controls during the French grand tour.

Tramadol is not on the WADA banned list, but the use of the opioid painkiller is prohibited during competition by the UCI.

As a result, Quintana saw his sixth place as well as his daily stage results erased from the official results sheet.

Quintana denied using tramadol at any point during his racing career.

Quintana is not banned from competition and will not face further sanction, but he opted out of a planned start at the Vuelta in order to work with his legal team to present an appeal to CAS within a prescribed deadline.

As of now, there are no other races on Quintana’s schedule.

CAS did not comment on when the Quintana case might be decided, and said an arbitration panel still needs to be named to review the appeal.

Quintana’s disqualification of his Tour results, however, and his decision to skip the Vuelta is having a major impact on the future of his Arkéa-Samsic team.

Quintana’s UCI points that he acquired during the Tour have been removed from the team’s running tally that will be used to dole out the next round of WorldTour licenses for the next three years.

Without Quintana’s Tour points, coupled with the points he likely would have earned at the Vuelta, the French squad tumbled down the team rankings list.

Rather than sitting in the “safe” zone going into the closing weeks of 2022, Arkéa-Samsic is now ranked 16th, less than 200 points from missing WorldTour qualification.