Nairo Quintana on stage 18 of the 2022 Tour de France.

Nairo Quintana could return to Movistar

Trouble is, the Colombian's old team is already full.

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It’s not been a great few weeks for Nairo Quintana whose Tramadol sanction was upheld by the UCI earlier this month, confirming his disqualification from the Tour de France.

After announcing he was parting ways with Arkéa Samsic, the team he’s called home since 2020 and which he has helped climb into the WorldTour ranks for 2023, the cycling world – and Quintana himself – have been eagerly awaiting news of what jersey the 32-year-old would pull on come the new year.

The suggestion that Colombian Team Medellín might have a berth for him was debunked by the man himself this week, and, perhaps to reassure those who saw that potential descent to Continental level as a sign of things to come, Quintana has this weekend insisted that his future is among the higher echelons.

“I’ll be in the WorldTour,” Quintana said, according to EFE. “I’m going to carry on racing hard, I’m moving forward. The idea is to stay motivated to win races and represent my country.”

But does that mean he’ll be riding for a WorldTeam or that he will be racing at WorldTour level? That much is perhaps lost in translation.

“That’s what I have in mind. I’ll carry on strongly and next year I’ll be there in the big ones,” he said. “Next year for sure you’re going to see Nairo Quintana on screen competing in one of your favourite races.”

Vague, then. He went on to talk about the ‘options’, tiptoeing around the suggestion that there’s already a deal on the table.

“It’s politics on their side,” he said of the team he may or may not already have signed for. “For me, I’d say it now, but it’s politics.” 

He was asked if perhaps a return to Movistar was on the cards, despite the Spanish outfit – where Quintana spent eight seasons from 2012 – having confirmed their complete 30-rider roster for next year.

“That could be one of the options,” Quintana said. “The truth is, I’ve had a good relationship with them. We had eight years of great success and why not [return]? But we carry on looking at the options.”

Hmm. What to take from this? Quintana seems confident of having a team for next year, that’s pretty clear. And there’s a contract on the table? Sounds like it. Will it be Movistar?… Not likely, but wouldn’t that be fun.

The one thing that’s absolutely certain, is that the Colombian, who continues to insist that he didn’t and has never taken Tramadol, remains unfazed by the drama that has encircled him in the latter half of this season; he absolutely intends to continue filling our screens with dogged, deadpan performances at the biggest races of the year.

“That’s what’s important – that we have options to continue and that I’m motivated to continue.”

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