Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Yvon Ledanois on his Arkéa-Samsic departure: ‘It’s not because of Nairo Quintana’

Sport director reiterated that there is no link in his exit from the WorldTour-bound French team and Quintana's unfolding tramadol case.

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

French sport director Yvon Ledanois said it’s nothing more than coincidence that he leaves Arkéa-Samsic after five seasons as lead DS at the same time as Nairo Quintana is fighting tramadol charges.

Speaking to Ouest France, Ledanois said he left on his own accord for “new challenges” in his career, and said he’s “no friend” of Quintana.

“Since the Vuelta a España, I have not spoken to Quintana,” Ledanois told Ouest France. “I’m leaving Arkéa-Samsic with my head held high, it’s not related to Quintana.”

Ledanois, a former director at Movistar and BMC, joined Arkéa-Samsic in its quest to join the WorldTour in 2023. The Frenchman said he fulfilled his end of the bargain, and he’s leaving the team for personal reasons.

Also read:

Earlier this week, Arkéa-Samsic announced a reshuffling of its sport director staff and confirmed Ledanois’s departure, but he said it has nothing to do with Quintana’s tramadol case that is now in the hands of the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“This has nothing to do with him. And you know, I was not Quintana’s friend,” Ledanois said. “I was sports director of Arkéa-Samsic, not of Quintana. He’s done races where I wasn’t sporting director, I’ve done plenty of them without him.

“Since he left the Vuelta [ed. — Quintana did not race to prepare his CAS defense], I haven’t had a phone call from him and I haven’t didn’t try to get it,” he said. “I work on affection, but today I have more affection with a Laurent Pichon than for a Nairo Quintana.

“I didn’t make him come to the team, I didn’t make him leave, and he’s not the one making me leave.”

The comments come as Quintana is trying to fend off allegations that the took the opioid painkiller tramadol during the 2022 Tour de France.

The UCI disqualified his Tour results, which included second at the Col de Granon and sixth overall, after the UCI said Quintana tested twice for tramadol in two controls during the Tour.

Tramadol is not on the WADA prohibitive list, but will be added in 2024. The UCI bans it during competition, and though Quintana is not facing a racing ban or other disciplinary actions, the UCI erased his Tour results.

Quintana denied taking tramadol, and presented his appeal to CAS this week in Switzerland.

Ledanois: ‘Quintana had the confidence of everyone on the team’

Yvon Ledanois said there’s no connection between his departure and Quintana’s CAS case. (Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Ledanois said he and everyone inside the Arkéa-Samsic organization are disappointed in the Quintana affair. The Colombian joined the team in 2019 on a three-year deal, and signed a three-year extension after the Tour, but that was quickly rescinded after the UCI allegations were revealed in August.

“I don’t want to work with him and I do not know where he will go,” Ledanois said of Quintana, who does not have a contract for 2023. “Of course I’m disappointed, but the first person he would be hurt was [team manager] Emmanuel Hubert, then the team, his teammates, and then the staff. He had the confidence of everyone.

“If it turns out that he was at fault, it’s a shame,” Ledanois said. “Also, an investigation is underway, and I am careful not to comment. As a human, I would have liked to have a phone call from him, which I never got. But hey, I never expect anything from a rider.”

Even with Quintana’s Tour disqualification, Arkéa-Samsic looks to have just enough points to secure a WorldTour license going into 2023.

Ledanois reiterated that there is no link in his departure from the team and Quintana’s unfolding case.

“Absolutely not. There is no link,” Ledanois told Ouest France. “I warned [Hubert] that I had, for personal reasons and other issues, the desire to stop, and it was I who left.

“I like challenges, I like the pressure of the goal. Five years ago, few people thought Arkéa could go to the WorldTour,” he said. “I remember, when I arrived, I said that the days of attacking at kilometer zero were over. Some were surprised, it was not easy to explain how I worked. Sometimes I am tough, very tough, but today I think I brought something to this team. In the end, five years later, the results prove me right.”

Ledanois said he’s been in touch with WorldTour teams, but does not have a deal to work in 2023 so far.

He said his final challenge as a sport director would be to win the Tour de France from behind the steering wheel.

“To win the Tour. I ‘won it’ with Oscar Pereiro, but I want to win the Tour in real life,” he said of the 2006 Floyd Landis disqualification. “I have enough experience. I have led high-level riders, I think I have the ability to win the Tour. I have proposals that I like, I’m not afraid of tomorrow, and I like to take risks in life.”

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.