Quintana was hoping that he could have the Giro as his main goal for the 2021 season after not riding the Corsa Rosa since 2017, where he came second behind an inspired Tom Dumoulin.
In a piece by Italian site Spaziociclismo, Quintana said: “I wanted to participate in the Giro, but I respect the organisers choice. I will now focus on the Tour.
“Our team is not part of the WorldTour and is therefore dependent on wild cards.
“However, the organisation has decided to hand them out to Italian teams. I want to thank everyone for their support and this is certainly not a mental blow. I keep believing in my dreams. I now focus on other big races, such as the Tour.”
Quintana took his one and only Giro title back in 2014, while his last overall success at a Grand Tour was in the 2016 Vuelta a España. Since then it hasn’t been going too well for the star climber.
Injuries and a breakdown between him and the rest of the Movistar Team saw him step down to the ProTeam level of the sport with Arkéa-Samsic.
Quintana was looking in fine form in 2020 taking the overall at the Tour de la Provence and the final stage of Paris-Nice before the coronavirus shutdown. He continued that form into the Tour de France, but a crash saw his hopes of a podium, and maybe even a win, slip away.
The teams that got in ahead of Arkéa-Samsic through the wild card slots were Eolo-Kometa, Bardiani-CSF-Faizanè and Vini Zabù with Mathieu van der Poel’s Alpecin-Fenix getting an automatic invite after they beat Arkéa to the top spot in the ProTeam division last year.
The Giro is set to start on May 8 in the city of Turin and make its way around the region of Piedmont for it’s Gran Partenza, before heading further around the country. The route is yet to be announced.