Nairo Quintana is set to reunite with his Movistar squad to lead the team in his home stage race, the Tour Colombia, which begins on February 6.
The 33-year-old spent the last 18 months out of competition except for the Colombian national championships after he parted ways with Arkéa-Samsic after he tested positive for tramadol during the 2022 Tour de France and was disqualified.
Quintana was not suspended but was unable to find a team for 2023 but in October, Movistar announced his surprise return. Quintana started his WorldTour career with the team in 2012 and remained with them through 2019.
This year, WADA has added tramadol to the prohibited substance list, so any positives going forward could result in suspensions.
In the Tour Colombia 2.1, Quintana will race alongside compatriots Iván Sosa and Fernando Gaviria along with Spaniards Sergio Samitier and Albert Torres and Brazilian Vinicius Rangel.
According to El Colombiano, Quintana felt like he was at a good level of fitness and looking to get race days in his legs after finishing fourth in the time trial and 26th in the road race at the Colombian championships last week. Alejandro Osorio – another former WorldTour rider who was sacked by Bahrain Victorious for reportedly violating the team’s COVID-19 restrictions.
“The result doesn’t say anything about the condition,” Quintana said. “If we look at last year’s podium we all finished together, and if we look at the time trial, it’s similar. The important thing is that we are adding kilometres.
“We were able to ride well, unfortunately, it is not easy to make the right break, the strategy does not always go as one thinks, but the feeling and the body are very good. I am enormously grateful and excited, not pleased, but happy, happy to be in this new season with a team that has helped me a lot during this decade and that I carry, like many teammates, in my heart,” Quintana said.
The fourth edition of the Tour Colombia 2.1 traverses 911.6 kilometres, and will have 25 teams on the start line including WorldTour teams Movistar, Astana, and EF Education-EasyPost.