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Nairo Quintana, disqualified from the Tour de France for taking the painkiller tramadol

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Much to his regret, Nairo Quintana, who has just renewed for three years with the French team Arkea, is once again a pioneer. The first Colombian to win the Giro d’Italia, and the first to win two Grands, since he later won the Vuelta, he is also the first cyclist sanctioned by the International Cycling Union (UCI) for fighting pain during the Tour de France resorting to the painkiller tramadol, which only cycling prohibits in competition. “Two dried blood samples, on July 8 [etapa de la Superplanche] and 13 [etapa del Granon, la del gran ataque de Vingegaard y el hundimiento de Pogacar, en la que el colombiano terminó segundo] show that Quintana consumed tramadol, a product prohibited by medical regulations,” the UCI said in a statement specifying that the infraction “is not doping.” Quintana will not be sanctioned and will be able to run the Vuelta, which begins on Friday in Utrecht , but is disqualified from the last Tour, in which, at the age of 32, he finished sixth. It was his best performance in the grande boucle since third place in 2016. Tramadol, an opioid painkiller, is in fact not on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of prohibited substances, but the UCI decided to control its use after verifying that it was included in the cycling hit parade. A large number of falls were blamed on the abuse of tramadol by cyclists, without further evidence other than anecdotal evidence, since one of the side effects of the product is drowsiness. The consumption of analgesics is very common in cycling, not only to avoid the leg pain caused by his practice at the highest level, but also precisely because of the large number of falls and injuries that occur during a Grand Tour and the need to always be rested to go out the next day. During the Tour, Quintana suffered a hard fall on July 9, in the Lausanne stage, which left his arm injured for several days. Precisely in June, when several cyclists criticized that Rafa Nadal was allowed to receive infiltrations of anesthetics to be able to playing at Roland Garros despite the terrible pain he had in one foot, a relief, a treatment that cyclists are the only athletes who cannot resort to, the president of the UCI, the Frenchman David Lappartient, recalled the seriousness of his body in the fight for the defense of the health of runners and how they also felt pioneers for the prohibition, since 2019, of tramadol, a product widely used in contact sports, shocks and hardness, such as American football, athletes, to whom sometimes they ask for more than they can bear and that they follow the dictation of the poet: “How sad is the pain, and what a relief from tramadol”. You can follow EL PAÍS Deportes on Facebook and Twitter, or sign up here to receive our to weekly newsletter.

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