Movistar supervisor Eusebio Unzué acknowledged that signing Nairo Quintana was shocking however justified the choice, saying the Colombian was in an unfair state of affairs.
The UCI disqualified Quintana from the 2022 Tour de France after dried blood spot testing turned up constructive for tramadol. The painkiller was not on WADA’s prohibited substance record on the time however was prohibited by the UCI. Will probably be banned by WADA from 2024, nevertheless.
The incident price Quintana his contract with Arkéa-Samsic and left him with out racing prospects in 2023. That can change in February when the 33-year-old begins his season with Movistar on the Volta a Valenciana.
Unzué known as the Tramadol positives “errors” that have been “simple” in an interview with El Mundo Deportivo.
“These two errors did enable him to proceed racing, though the confusion, and the lack of confidence, meant that he was not racing this yr.
“With all that Nairo has contributed to biking, to the workforce itself and to Telefónica, we could not simply sit again and do nothing. The human factor has additionally performed an essential function in his signing, particularly as a result of we’re assured that he’s nonetheless a person who can contribute loads to the workforce together with his expertise, and we are going to absolutely see him up there on essential days.”
Unzué certified his expectations, saying, “I’m positive that his greatest days are behind him and lots of of them we now have been fortunate sufficient to get pleasure from them,” including that he thinks Quintana will “relieve him of a number of the stress [Enric Mas] has been below this yr” as sole GC chief of the workforce.
“Understanding that he carried the only accountability for the workforce, generally that is an excessive amount of, and I feel the arrival of Nairo might be good for him on this sense,” Unzué stated.
“Sharing obligations with Nairo is usually a aid for Enric and can assist him in order that his efficiency and ultimate outcomes can match the standard he has,” including that his ends in 2023 “haven’t been as much as his sporting stage” and “haven’t performed him justice”.
Mas twice completed second within the Vuelta a España however has had dangerous luck in his final two Tour de France makes an attempt, dropping out with COVID-19 in 2022 and crashing out on the opening stage this yr.
Unzué confirmed that Movistar hoped to signal Carlos Rodriguez from Ineos however a pre-contract settlement fell via.
“We have been very enthusiastic about signing him, however there was a clause that allowed for the potential of re-signing [with Ineos].
“My impression is that in the long run, he took into consideration the 4 years he had been with the Ineos workforce and the group of execs who’ve been working with him for thus lengthy. I feel this was decisive, together with the potential of having the ability to be the chief of his workforce subsequent yr.”
Unzué additionally recognised the disparity in funds dimension between Movistar and groups like Ineos and Jumbo-Visma, and stated the workforce are looking for a second sponsor to “have a sure steadiness and the flexibility to maintain a number of the greatest riders from leaving and have extra choices available in the market.”