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Nairo Quintana turned down an offer from a Colombian third-tier team, and vows he will race in the WorldTour in 2023.
Quintana, speaking at event ahead of his gran fondo event in Colombia this weekend, thanked Team Medellín EPM, a continental level squad, for the offer, but said his future is secure.
“I am going to keep pushing forward and I will continue racing in the WorldTour,” Quintana told the media.
Quintana, 32, did not reveal the name of the team that might see him race in the WorldTour next year, but said something will be confirmed soon.
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- Arkéa-Samsic emphasizes ‘Bretagne’ roots after Quintana debacle
The comments come following speculation about Quintana’s racing future in the wake of his tramadol case that saw his 2022 Tour de France results erased by the UCI.
Quintana lost an appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport earlier this month. Though tramadol won’t be on the WADA prohibited list until 2024, the UCI banned its use during competition.
The UCI disqualified Quintana’s 2022 Tour results after he returned two samples with traces of the opioid painkiller. Quintana once again denied taking tramadol.
“Though some it in a bad way, I’ve always tried to demonstrate my innocence, and that’s why I raised my hand to try to defend myself,” Quintana said. “Life is full of ups and downs.
“Things didn’t turn out the way I would have liked, but I defended myself,” Quintana said of the CAS appeal. “I didn’t do anything wrong, and I will keep fighting and keep turning the pedals.”
Quintana pointed out that he is not banned from racing, and suggested that the case has been blown out of proportion.
“It grew into a snowball,” he said. “Obviously it’s serious, but I am not sanctioned. I am not locked away in the basement or forgotten in some room.”
Quintana did not reveal the team that he might be joining after Arkéa-Samsic cut ties with him in the wake of the Tour disqualification. The French team scrapped a three-year contract extension as it’s poised to climb into the WorldTour in 2023.
“Each goes on their own way,” Quintana said of Arkéa-Samsic, which he thanked for the three seasons he raced there from 2020-22. “Zero-zero, not for better or for worse. I had three important seasons there, with some races that I won so the team can arrive to the WorldTour.”
Without giving anything away, Quintana sounded optimistic he will be racing in the WorldTour next season.
“Next year Nairo Quintana will be on the TV screens racing in one of everyone’s favorite races at the international level,” he said.