Nairo Quintana has announced he will leave Arkéa-Samsic at the end of this season, just six weeks after he agreed a new three-year deal with the French team.
“I want to thank Arkéa-Samsic for these last three years,” the Colombian said in a message shared on his Instagram account. “We’ve had ups and downs, but I’ve been able to bring my experience to the team and collect UCI points.”
The day after Quintana signed his new contract, he was retrospectively disqualified from the 2022 Tour de France, after two of his blood samples revealed the presence of the painkiller tramadol.
While the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) didn’t include tramadol on its banned substance list, the painkiller had been banned by the UCI since March 2019 due to its adverse side effects. WADA has since outlawed its use.
In his Instagram message, Quintana added: “I will keep you informed on my future in the coming weeks and prove what an honest rider I am.
“I have brought an appeal before the CAS and I’m continuing to work with my team of lawyers. I’m optimistic because I am an honest person, I’ve done nothing wrong or illegal and I want to defend myself.”
Last month, the 32-year-old chose not to take the start line at the Vuelta a España in order to prepare his appeal before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
He had previously said that he was “totally unaware” of having taken tramadol, and denied ever using it during his career.
“With my legal team we will exhaust every means to prepare my defence,” Quintana wrote in a statement shared on 17 August.
The Colombian has not competed for Arkéa-Samsic since the UCI sanction and is not expected to race again this year. Last month, he represented his country in the men’s elite road race at the World Championships in Wollongong, Australia, finishing 66th.
Quintana came sixth in the general classification at the Tour de France in July but has since had his results from the race wiped. The UCI clarified in a statement that, as this was his first offence, he would be allowed to continue racing for the remainder of the season.