Nairo Quintana is leaving his Arkea-Samsic team despite signing a contract extension last month, the Colombian said on Saturday.
Quintana, a three-time Tour de France podium finisher, was disqualified from this year’s race after testing positive for Tramadol, an opiate pain killer banned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) although it does not feature on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of prohibited substances. It will be banned by WADA from 2024.
Quintana had finished the Tour in sixth place overall.
“I wanted to thank the Arkea-Samsic team for these three years with ups and downs, but to which I was able to contribute my experience and bring back UCI points to be able to access the World Tour as it was agreed when I was hired and I hope that it will succeed,” Quintana said on Twitter.
“I also wanted to say that I will not be continuing with the Arkea-Samsic team for the next three years as announced on Aug.16.
“I will keep you informed about my future in the next few weeks and prove what an honest rider I am. I have lodged an appeal with CAS (the Court of Arbitration for Sport) and I am continuing to work with my lawyers.
“I am optimistic because I am an honest person, I have not done anything wrong or illegal and I will defend myself.”
Quintana joined Arkea-Samsic from Movistar in 2020 as the most important transfer in the French teams’ history.