Tour de France: Nairo Quintana receives DQ for opioid use

AIGLE, Switzerland –

Two-time Tour de France runner-up Nairo Quintana was disqualified from the 2022 edition on Wednesday for abusing an opioid banned during races.

Quintana will lose the sixth place he achieved last month but is not disqualified from other races, the International Cycling Union said when announcing the decision. The UCI said it was not a doping violation.

Quintana is scheduled to start Friday in the three-week Spanish Vuelta, which he won in 2016.

Traces of the synthetic painkiller tramadol were found in two dried blood samples taken from the Colombian rider during the Tour on July 8 and 13, the UCI said.

Quintana’s case is one of the first in world sport to rely on the DBS (Dryed Blood Spot) method of sample collection, approved by the World Anti-Doping Agency last year.

Tramadol was banned for use in cycling competitions in 2019 because of possible side effects.

“In addition to the risk of dependency and addiction, commonly reported undesirable side effects of tramadol are dizziness, drowsiness and loss of attention, which are incompatible with cycling and endanger other competitors,” says the UCI medical rules.

Quintana, 32, finished the three-week Tour de France more than 16 minutes behind winner Jonas Vingegaard.

“As this is a first offence, (Quintana) will not be declared ineligible and therefore eligible to compete,” the UCI said.

Quintana finished second in 2013 and 2015, both times behind Chris Froome, and also won the Giro d’Italia in 2014.