The news had broken out earlier in the week that a decision had been made, but Nairo Quintana has dismissed initial reports. The Colombian will not retire from pro cycling as was previously claimed, he revealed in a press conference.
The 32-year old conducted a press conferences this morning in Bogotá, Colombia, where he has revealed a different outlook in what had been expected news. TV channel Ciclismo En Grande had reported days ago that he had made a decision, but that has been denied.
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Quintana has been a prolific climber throughout his career, having had his breakthrough in 2012 as one of the emerging climbers with Movistar Team. Over the year he has taken countless successes, winning his first Grand Tour at the 2014 Giro d'Italia following his raid in the snowy Stelvio descent, and has beat Chris Froome to the win at the 2016 Vuelta a Espana.
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The Tour de France was for several years his main goal but Quintana was unlucky to face prime Chris Froome and Team Sky. He has finished second on two occasions in 2013 and 2015, and has finished third in 2016. Many times he has been the closes rival to Chris Froome, despite the two being completely different types of riders.
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Quintana has however been able to capture stage wins in all Grand Tours throughout his career, but it was in the World Tour calendar that he solidified one of the most successful careers in modern cycling. Quintana has won Tirreno-Adriatico twice and has won the overall classification at races such as the Volta a Catalunya, Itzulia Basque Country and the Tour de Romandie, inbetween his 51 wins as a pro rider.
In 2020 he moved out of Movistar in search of individual leadership, and found it in ProTeam French outfit Arkéa Samsic. Throughout the last three seasons he collected more wins within the French calendar including winning on two occasions both Tour de la Provence and Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. His most recent wins came at those two events which he won in quick succession in 2022, both the queen stages and overall classifications.
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Everything changed at the 2022 Tour de France however. He rode a consistent race to sixth position, but following the race news emerged over him testing positive to Tramadol, a painkiller which is banned from use in competition. Although he was not suspended from racing, his results - and UCI points - were removed. He nevertheless was a key part of Arkéa Samsic's promotion to World Tour.
He abandoned his plans to race the Vuelta a Espana in order to work on his defense, but after several months of investigation the sanction was confirmed, the defense was unsuccessful. As a result, Quintana would lose the contract that he hadn't signed, but had agreed on with Arkéa Samsic.
Throughout the winter many teams were rumoured to be his next destination. More recently it had been Israel - Premier Tech and Team Corratec, both who have just received a wildcard to the Giro d'Italia. However neither of the moves could materialize itself. On the verge of entering February, chances were dim for there to be a pro team willing to take on Quintana with his recent past and likely financial demands.
However, against all odds and the news that have been circulating, Quintana has not retired from pro cycling and will continue to pursue success in his career.