Arkéa-Samsic emphasizes ‘Bretagne’ roots after Quintana debacle

Arkéa-Samsic has been muted on the rider market despite its likely move into the WorldTour ranks for 2023.

Photo: Luc Claessen/Getty Images

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Arkéa-Samsic is emphasizing its French roots as the team secures its lineup going into 2023 following the recent debacle involving Colombian star Nairo Quintana.

The second-tier squad looks poised to secure WorldTour qualification despite the controversial disqualification of Quintana for alleged use of tramadol and the loss of his haul of points at the Tour de France that saw the team tumble in the three-year WorldTour promotion race.

On Wednesday, the team confirmed its future lies squarely with its French roots.

“A land of cycling, Brittany is also a land of high-quality riders,” said team boss Emmanuel Hubert in a media note. “Our membership, our identity, our roots have always been, and will always be, that our workforce will be largely made up of racers from our territory.

“It is a strong bond that unites us with our partners, but also with some of our supporters who are proud to identify themselves through our team in the colors of their region.”

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The team announced contract extensions Wednesday with four French riders, and the number of home-grown “Breton” riders will be seven for 2023.

After a brief media note last week confirming that Quintana is leaving the team despite being offered a three-year contract extension just days before the tramadol case broke, the team is refusing to speak more about what happened with the Colombian star.

Quintana is denying he took tramadol, a banned opioid painkiller that showed up in two separate samples taken during the 2022 Tour. Tramadol is banned during competition by the UCI, and will join the WADA banned list in 2024.

Quintana saw his results stripped from the Tour, with included second at the Col du Granon and sixth overall, but he is not facing any other formal sanction or racing ban.

The Colombian, who raced at the recent UCI Road World Championships, is now challenging the UCI decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Arkéa-Samsic has been muted on the rider market despite its likely move into the WorldTour ranks for 2023.

The team is hovering in 18th position among the three-year team points rankings, but it’s more than 1,000 points ahead of Lotto-Soudal to secure the final “safe” zone in the ongoing relegation battle.

The French team signed Quintana and a fleet of other Colombian riders to join in 2020 to give the team a better chance at earning WorldTour designation. Other Colombians on Arkéa-Samsic, including Winner Anacona, Dayer Quintana, and Miguel Floréz, are expected to leave the team.

So far, Clément Champoussin (AG2R-Citroën) is the only confirmed new arrival for 2023.

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