Nairo Quintana denied using the banned substance tramadol after the Colombian cyclist was stripped of his sixth place finish in this year’s Tour de France by cycling’s governing body on Wednesday.
The painkiller is prohibited by the medical regulations of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and is restricted only in competition. Its use does not constitute an anti-doping violation.
“Today I was surprised to learn of the announcement by the UCI of an infraction for the use of tramadol. I am completely unaware of the use of this substance and I deny having used it in my career,” Quintana said in a statement posted on Twitter (NYSE: TWTR ).
“With my team of lawyers we are exhausting all the processes to assume my defense.”
Quintana, winner of the Giro d’Italia in 2014 and the Vuelta a España in 2016, can appeal the verdict in the next 10 days but is free to compete in future races.
The Arkea-Samsic team rider added that he intended to take part in this year’s Vuelta, which starts on Friday.
“I also want to ratify that I will be in the Vuelta a España, riding my bike giving my best for my team, my country and my fans,” said the 32-year-old cyclist.