Nairo Quintana’s Tour de France tramadol disqualification upheld

CAS uphold the UCI decision to disqualify the Colombian after painkiller detected in blood tests

Nairo Quintana
(Image credit: Getty)

The decision to disqualify Nairo Quintana from the 2022 Tour de France by the UCI has been upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS]. 

Quintana returned a positive test during the race for tramadol on two separate occasions.

Quintana finished sixth overall at the Tour but lost his result due to the decision. Tramadol is not currently banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency [WADA] but is due to be banned from 2024.

It is currently banned under the UCI’s medical rules for safety reasons. 

The Colombian had appealed to CAS in a bid to get the UCI’s decision overturned and his race results reinstated but the decision now stands.

Quintana recently confirmed that he had terminated his contract with French team Arkea-Samsic and news of the decision will inevitably damage his chances of securing a ride for 2023. 

In a statement issued by CAS on Thursday, it was confirmed that the evidence supplied by the UCI was satisfactory and that Quintana’s samples contained tramadol. 

It said: “The panel deliberated and determined that the UCI’s in-competition ban on tramadol was for medical rather than doping reasons and was therefore within the UCI’s power and jurisdiction. 

“Furthermore, the panel was comfortably satisfied that the scientific evidence showed that Nairo Quintana’s samples contained both tramadol and its two metabolites. On this basis, the Panel concluded that the challenged decision should stand, and dismissed the appeal.”

In a video shared on Twitter (opens in new tab), Quintana said: "Today we got the response from the CAS. Sadly, it wasn't good for me.

"With pride I can say that, throughout my long sporting career, I've been through more than 300 anti-doping controls, which makes more or less three a month, and I've never had any problem with doping. I have many reasons to not do it and to have not taken this product. Sadly, the CAS result came out like this."

Quintana continued: "But it's like that, my friends. Life moves on, life continues and the storm will pass."

Tramadol is a strong opioid painkiller that can have adverse side effects including nausea, drowsiness and loss of concentration.

As a result  it was banned by the UCI in 2019 but since it is banned under the organisation's medical rules, it does not automatically come with a suspension. Rider’s results can still be voided if a positive test occurs. 

Decisions by the Court of Arbitration for Sport are final and riders are unable to appeal. Quintana hasn’t appeared in a race since the Tour de France other than the recent road world championships in Australia. 

It remains to be seen whether he will race at cycling’s highest level in 2023. 

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