Ag2r Citroën deny reports of contact with Nairo Quintana

French WorldTour team quick to confirm there's no interest in signing veteran Colombian currently battling tramadol charges in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

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French squad Ag2r Citroën is denying it’s pursuing Nairo Quintana in the wake of his high-profile departure from Arkéa-Samsic.

The Colombian was linked by French media reports to a possible move to the French WorldTour team, something officials were quick to shoot down.

“Contrary to an information released in different medias, Ag2r Citroën has never had any contact with Nairo Quintana or his agent, and is not interested by his recruitment,” an official statement read Tuesday.

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French media reported that Ag2r Citroën was among possible French suitors for the Colombian veteran who is currently trying to battle off charges that he took the opiate painkiller tramadol during the 2022 Tour de France.

Anti-doping controls cited two occasions during the Tour when Quintana tested for traces of tramadol, which is banned during competition by the UCI. The cycling governing body later disqualified Quintana’s Tour results that included sixth overall and second in the decisive stage at Col du Granon.

The loss of those points sent Arkéa-Samsic tumbling down the three-year team rankings, and pushed the team dangerously near the relegation zone, though it appears the team will likely qualify for WorldTour status in 2023 even without Quintana’s Tour points.

Quintana, who denies taking tramadol, is taking an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which so far has not yet moved to hear the case.

Tramadol saw widespread abuse in the peloton until the UCI moved to ban its use during UCI-sanctioned races. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently agreed to add it to the official banned list for all sports starting in 2024.

Quintana, who does not currently face any other sanctions or ban, returned to racing after skipping a planned start at the Vuelta a España at the UCI Road World Championships, where he finished 66th.

Quintana confirmed he would not continue with the French team despite agreeing to a three-year contract extension just days before the tramadol case was revealed by the UCI.

It remains uncertain which team might be interested in signing Quintana.

At 32, Quintana is a consistent top-10 finisher in any stage race he starts and still packs the potential to deliver wins. Some sources suggested Quintana could return to Movistar, where he raced from 2012 to 2019, or perhaps to Astana-Qazaqstan, while French media reported a possible move to TotalEnergies.

With many teams already filling up, one team official said Quintana’s future could depend of if he is successful in his tramadol appeal with CAS.

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