Colombian rider Nairo Quintana, who is coming out of a white season following his disqualification at the end of the Tour de France in 2022, bounced back on Saturday by rejoining his former team Movistar, the Spanish team announced. At 33, Quintana will return to the team where he shone between 2012 and 2019, notably winning the 2014 Giro and the 2016 Vuelta, without however managing to win in the Tour de France.
“Nairo Quintana comes home” wrote Movistar on
Quintana was disqualified from the 2022 Tour de France, in which he took 6th place, after the discovery in his blood of traces of tramadol, a painkiller prohibited by medical regulations. He had been without a team since breaking his contract with French outfit Arkéa-Samsic. While the Colombian media had announced that he was going to retire, the Colombian had affirmed at the start of the year his desire to continue his career and find a team.
“I’m happy to be back home,” the Colombian said on Saturday. “It’s been a difficult year. Sleepless nights, many days of enormous sacrifice, getting on the bike and trying to move forward, rain or shine. But it was worth it. I'm not going to waste this opportunity. I know the values of the team, the values of the sport. I will give everything to do well and I want to contribute to the team to obtain the best results.” he added in the Movistar press release.
The pocket climber (1.67 m, 58 kg) never realized his dream of winning the Tour de France. He had to settle for two second places in 2013, on his first participation, then in 2015, a third place in 2016 and three stage victories, each time triggering hysteria in his native Colombia, a passionate country biking.
In 2020, Nairo Quintana was hit by a car during training in Colombia. Finally present during the Tour de France contested in the fall due to Covid, he fell several times and finished in 17th place. In January, the Colombian runner summoned the press, fueling questions about a possible retirement from sport. But the “Andean Condor” had on the contrary announced that it was continuing. “A true cyclist does not give up in the face of adversity,” he said.
Eleven days later, wearing a white jersey adorned only with the name of his sportswear brand, he took third place in the Colombian road cycling championship behind Esteban Chaves and Daniel Felipe Martinez.