Disqualified from the Tour de France, Quintana denies having taken a prohibited product



Nairo Quintana reacted on Wednesday to his disqualification from the Tour de France, saying he had never taken Tramadol, contrary to what the UCI claims.

On Wednesday, the Union Cycliste Internationale announced the disqualification of Nairo Quintana from the Tour de France. She accuses the Colombian cyclist, who finished sixth this year, of having tested positive for Tramadol, a substance banned since 2019. In a press release, the UCI however explained that the ban on the use of this powerful painkiller in competition constitutes an infraction of the UCI regulations but not an anti-doping rule violation, which is why the cyclist can continue to take part in the competitions.

Following this revelation, Nairo Quintana reacted, saying he was “surprised to read the UCI press release”. “I am completely unaware of the use of this substance and deny having ever used it in my career,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter. “With my team of lawyers, we are examining all possible remedies to defend me. I also want to confirm that I will be in the Tour of Spain, on my bike, giving the best of myself for my team, my country and my supporters”. Thursday, he finally announced that he would not participate in the Vuelta, which will start on Friday, indicating that he had neither the head nor the body in the competition. “I prefer to go home, organize and prepare my defense about the news that reached me yesterday,” he said. The UCI recalled on Wednesday that the sportsman had ten days to appeal. For its part, the Arkéa Samsic team, with which it has just extended, said that it took note of the UCI’s decision.

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The UCI explains that it has “prohibited the use of Tramadol in competition in all disciplines and categories in order to protect the health and safety of riders given the side effects of this substance”. This painkiller is “the opioid substance most delivered in France (nearly 6 million patients) and the most involved in hospitalizations and deaths by overdose or accidental intoxication”, writes on its site UFC Que Choisir. The National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Products indicates for its part that Tramadol is “the first analgesic involved in deaths linked to the taking of analgesics, ahead of morphine”. Delivered on prescription, it is also “the second most frequently found analgesic on falsified prescriptions presented in pharmacies, behind codeine”. Tramadol, it says, should always be “dispensed in the smallest possible pack sizes, suitable for prescription for the shortest possible duration.”

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