Nairo Quintana has undergone surgery on both knees and will now begin a recovery process ahead of the 2021 season.
The Colombian's 2020 campaign – his first with second-division French squad Arkéa-Samsic – started brightly, but his main objective of the Tour de France was derailed by the pair of knee injuries.
First, he fell on his right knee after being hit by a driver in Colombia before he travelled to Europe ahead of the Tour, and he then injured his left knee during the race itself in a crash on stage 13.
Quintana finished the Tour but hasn't raced since and has called an end to his season. He initially suggested there was a fracture in one of his kneecaps but, before going under the knife in Lyon, France on Wednesday, he explained the injuries both relate to the cartilage underneath.
"We've done some physio, but in the end we've had to do a small surgical procedure on the two knees, because the cartilage is broken in places," Quintana said in a video message.
"It was better to have a small operation so as to have a much quicker and safer recovery."
The former Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España winner also gave an indication that he won't be out for long, possibly in response to reports in the Colombian press quoting a doctor who said cartilage injuries can take several months to recover fully from.
"A few days off the bike then I'll start on rehabilitation so that next year I'm strong and it's a year of success for all of us."
Quintana, whose Tour de France was soured further by a doping investigation into him and his team, will return to Colombia next week to spend the winter off-season at home.
It makes you question the wisdom of his continuing to race after the crash with Bardet. pic.twitter.com/nmuVyeU58dOctober 21, 2020