The UCI has sanctioned Nairo Quintana for an infringement of the in-competition ban on using the painkiller tramadol after analyses of two dried blood samples provided by the rider on 8 and 13 July during the 2022 Tour de France revealed the presence of tramadol and its two main metabolites.
The Colombian has been disqualified from the race, losing his sixth place finish, but, as infringements of the in-competition ban on using tramadol are offences under the UCI Medical Rules, and it is Quintana's first offence, he is not banned from competition and can race the Vuelta a España.
Quintana may appeal the disqualification before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within the next 10 days.
The UCI said a total of 120 dried blood samples were collected at the Tour as part of the tramadol programme. Since March 2019, use of tramadol in-competition has been banned to "protect the riders’ health and safety in light of the side-effects of this substance".
At the time, concerns had been raised that the powerful painkiller could heighten the risk of crashes due to the drug's side effects of nausea, drowsiness and loss of concentration, as well as possible addiction.
Samples are collected by the International Testing Agency (ITA) using the Dried Blood Spots (DBS) reference method. Developed by the Swiss company DBS Systems, sampling kits are used to conduct this minimally invasive test, which involves collecting a small amount of blood from the rider's fingertip.
The dates provided by the UCI, July 8 and 13, relate to stages finishing at La Planche des Belles Filles, the first summit finish of the race, and Col du Granon when Quintana finished second behind Jonas Vingegaard.
The 33-year-old rose to fifth on GC following his stage 11 display, but finished sixth on GC in Paris having lost time in the penultimate day time trial.
[📷: Zac Williams/SWpix.com]
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.