Nairo Quintana has been focused on fighting a positive tramadol test that led to his disqualification from the Tour de France, and has not raced with his team's kit since -- Although he did represent Colombia during the UCI Road Cycling World Championships.
Pictured, an image of the prescription painkiller Tramadol.
The news of Quintana's extension with Arkéa-Samsic was met with some surprise, as the team is not currently at the same level as when he first joined them three years ago. Nevertheless, Quintana expressed his happiness with the team and his confidence that they would continue to improve. Six weeks later, Nairo Quintana ended his three-year extension to his initial contract with the World Tour team Arkéa-Samsic.
Quintana's contract termination is unusual for a multitude of reasons. Foremost, it is not similar to other sports where dropping a contract this early would mean the rider would have difficulty finding another team. Reports are already spurring about Quintana being slotted into one of a few notable French World Tour teams.
Secondly, tramadol is not viewed as one of the more damaging sanctioned substances as it is a simple moderate painkiller. However, tramadol is only accessible through a prescription and is difficult for a false positive such as testing positive for opioids after consuming poppy seeds, which makes it even more strange to push a large effort towards a legal battle against the UCI when all reports point to justification behind the response.
As the Nairo Quintana event continues to garner wide media attention, updates on the rider's legal battle against multiple positive drug tests have been widely followed.
While it is not unheard of for riders to take such action against a governing body, it is noteworthy that Quintana has terminated his contract with the team less than a month after extending it. Additionally, professional cyclists dropping out of key events in order to focus on outlying factors is relatively uncommon, though this year's Tour de France winner did so after claiming victory citing mental health and physical condition as reasons.