PARIS (AFP) - Colombian Nairo Quintana has been retrospectively disqualified from this year's Tour de France after testing positive for tramadol, the International Cycling Union (UCI) announced on Wednesday (Aug 17).
Former two-time runner-up Quintana, 32, finished sixth overall in the race which ended on July 24.
The pain medication has been banned by the UCI since 2019.
"The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that the Colombian rider Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas has been sanctioned for an infringement of the in-competition ban on using tramadol as set out in the UCI Medical Rules with the aim of protecting the safety and health of riders in light of the side-effects of this substance," the body said.
"The analyses of two dried blood samples provided by the rider on 8 and 13 July during the 2022 Tour de France revealed the presence of tramadol and its two main metabolites.
"In accordance with the UCI Medical Rules, the rider is disqualified from the 2022 Tour de France. This decision may be appealed before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within the next 10 days.
"As this is a first offence, Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas is not declared ineligible and can therefore participate in competitions," it added.
Quintana's Arkea-Samsic team said they were aware of the decision.
"Team Arkea-Samsic has taken note of the notification from the UCI received by Nairo Quintana informing him of the presence of Tramadol in two dried blood samples collected during the last Tour de France," they said.
"The UCI Medical Regulations provide for a ban on the use of Tramadol in competition for medical reasons from March 1, 2019.
"The Arkea-Samsic team will make no further comment," they added.
Quintana is set to feature in this year's Vuelta a Espana, which starts on Friday in the Netherlands.
"Quintana can start the race, according to the rules," Vuelta race director Javier Guillen told Spanish news agency EFE later on Wednesday.
"But we will respect what the team decides when they talk to the rider.
"The rider and the team will decide what they are going to do.
"He has been excluded from the Tour but can ride the Vuelta," he added.
On Tuesday, the Breton outfit announced Quintana had signed a contract extension until 2025 and he won the Giro d'Italia in 2014 and the Vuelta two years later.