Stage 21 of the Tour de France 2022, the great party that took place between Paris La Défense and the Champs Elysees of the capital of that country, after 115 kilometers, was not only the consecration of the Danish Jonas Vingegaardcas champion of the competition, but it meant the last stage race that he has played Nairo Quintana.
That day the Boyacá cyclist, at that time with the team Arkea-Samsic, He finished in sixth place overall, 16 minutes 33 minutes behind Vingegaard, but at the same time it was the beginning of a very difficult year for him, a story of love and pain that has not ended.
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fight with the ICU
On August 18 of that year, the International Cycling Union (UCI) communicated that the boyacense had been disqualified from the race, because in two of his blood tests the substance was found tramadolprohibited in the regulations of the entity in competition, but not by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)), so it is not strangely doping.
Quintana and his group of lawyers appealed the sanction before eCourt of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), that dismissed the appeal and deepened the crisis of the Colombian cyclist, who was left in limbo.
The days go by and nothing
One year is complete and Nairo has dreamed of signing with several teams, they have even put him to run in the next edition of the Back to Spainbut everything has fallen from his weight, as the teams have dismissed the option and he himself has confirmed that he will not go to the Vuelta.
He wanted to straighten out the path, talk to the UCI and with the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC), but both entities confirmed to TIME At the time, these meetings were not possible, because there was a sanction involved.
Quintana has not stopped training. He continues to prepare. Last week, in various media outlets, he said that he was willing to sign a contract, that he has not «lowered his arms» and that he will continue in the fight; Something similar was noticed last February, when there was speculation about his possible retirement.
From that date to here there has been nothing, only speculation, but the truth is that time is pressing, it has given a year of tax and that is not good for a rider who has not competed in stage events for a year.
«It has no place at this time for whatever decision it is.»
He went to the World Cup in Wollongong (Australia), and this year he has only taken part in the National Cycling route, in which he won the bronze medal, but nothing else, he has not been a competitive runner again.
He harbors the illusion of returning to the road, but in top-level cycling that looks very complicated.
“It is difficult for him to return to the highest category. It has no place at this time due to whatever decision it may be, ”Javier Ares, a journalist for the Eurosport chain, which broadcasts most cycling competitions, told EL TIEMPO.
What awaits you?
Ares warns that if the treatment given to the Colombian is compared with that of the riders who have reported as positive in the lot, what happens is unfair.
“It is better that it would have come out positive, because he meets the sanction and that’s it, like many. It’s unfair to him. he is not dopedIt is clear that he violated a rule, but the treatment he has received is not the best,» Ares said.
Nairo, in his last statements, observed that it was not true that he was going to Spain and confirmed that he is not interested in running in Colombia, but the doors is Europe It has them closed and the most complicated thing is that it does not run.
“That is key, not being in the races. It’s been a while and the teams see that. Training is one thing, competing, another, and that has not been done. It will not be easy for him to return to competition, if we talk about the cycling elite in the world. It is a pity, he is a good runner and he is already 33 years old, ”the Spanish former cyclist told EL TIEMPO Igor Astarloa, road world champion in 2003.
It is clear that by history, Nairo will have no problem competing, his statistics are enviable, but nowadays sophisticated cycling is difficult, since he has lost the wheel and it will not be easy for him to recover it.
“He is a rider who would serve a team in Europe, I don’t know if he is first class, but second category. His track record is enviable and he would give them options to appear on the ladder, ”he said Eduardo Choza, Spanish former cyclist and now cycling commentator in Europe.
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Editor of EL TIEMPO