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CAS rejects Quintana’s Tour de France appeal

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Thursday rejected Colombian Nairo Quintana’s appeal against his disqualification during the last Tour de France for using a banned painkiller.

In its press release CAS said that the presence of tramadol in the blood of the 32-year-old climber, who finished sixth overall, was sufficient to justify the sanction imposed by the International Cycling Union (UCI) on August 17.

The panel “determined that the UCI’s in-competition ban on tramadol was for medical rather than doping reasons and was therefore within the UCI’s power and jurisdiction”, CAS said.

“Furthermore, the panel was comfortably satisfied that the scientific evidence showed that Nairo Quintana’s samples contained both tramadol and its two metabolites.”

The Colombian, who provided two positive samples during the Tour in July, was stripped of his sixth-place finish and fined 5,000 Swiss francs ($4,931).

As a first-time offender, he was not banned from further competition.

Tramadol, a synthetic opiate, has long been “under surveillance” by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) without appearing on its list of prohibited products, which prohibited sports federations from including it in their anti-doping regulations.

On September 23, WADA finally decided to ban it from all competitions from 2024, highlighting studies showing its effects on physical performance, as well as the significant risks of addiction.

The UCI, however, had banned it at the beginning of 2019 via its medical regulations.

The federation welcomed the CAS decision which, it said in a statement, “reinforces the validity of the tramadol ban in the UCI medical regulations in order to protect the health and safety of riders”.

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