Nairo Quintana parts ways with Arkéa Samsic despite signing three-year extension – CyclingTips

Nairo Quintana has announced that he is leaving Arkéa Samsic in a video posted to his Instagram. This comes amid his ongoing battle over testing positive for Tramadol at the Tour de France, a story which broke just days after the news that he’d extended his contract with the French team.

In the meantime, he continues to to assert: “I’ve never used [Tramadol] in my career.”

“I want to thank the team for the past three seasons,” Quintana said. “I was able to give all my experience and knowledge to a great team. In addition, I was able to get points to bring the team to the WorldTour, something they also promised me.”

Quintana made the surprise step down from Movistar to Arkéa Samsic for the 2020 season, choosing the second division team to guarantee leadership in the biggest European races, and helping them work towards promotion to the sport’s top level.

As things stand, Arkéa is set to progress to WorldTour for 2023, but it remains to be seen how the squad will adapt in Quintana’s absence. Team manager Emmanuel Hubert has come out and said that the deal settled in August was just a verbal agreement, but it’s hard to imagine a WorldTour plan without the Colombian stage racer as the fulcrum on which the team depends.

“I want to announce that I will not continue with Arkéa-Samsic next season, despite the message of August 16,” Quintana continued. “I will continue to cycle and soon I will let you know more about my future.”

At this relatively late stage in the season, both Quintana and the team he leaves behind will have fewer options available to them on the transfer market. That said, Arkéa already seems to be hedging their bets a little, or at the very least holding back on their transfer announcements. At this point, the team has just 15 riders under contract for 2023, including Vuelta stage winner Clément Champoussin on a one-year deal from AG2R-Citroën.

But more pressing is the fact that with 2023 now three months away, Quintana faces the attempted resolution of his doping case.

At the end of the video, Quintana – who appeared for Colombia at the road World Championships in Wollongong last weekend – added that he would not race again in 2022 due to health problems.

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