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The Colombian cites better preparations as grounds for enhanced optimism ahead of clash with Chris Froome.

Photo: Movistar Team






17.06.2016 @ 08:58 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Movistar’s Colombian climbing ace, Nairo Quintana, currently testing his legs in the Route du Sud, has twice finished as runner-up to Team Sky’s Chris Froome in the Tour de France. This year, he insists, his hunger for the yellow jersey is stronger than ever.


Quintana came close to upsetting Froome on the final mountain stage to Alpe d’Huez last year, falling 1’ 12” short in the end as the peloton entered Paris.


“I have prepared and I want to win and I want to give that joy to Colombians. So I invite you to join my yellow dream and give me a lot of strength,” Quintana said according to CyclingWeekly before departing to France and the Route du Sud stage race, which started on Thursday.


“Winning the Tour de France has always been my dream. When I went out cycling with my colleagues and told them that I wanted to win stages and win the Tour overall one day, they laughed at me. I told them, ‘Laugh, but I’m going to go over there and at least I’ll try.'”


Last year, most pundits thought that Movistar blew their chances of defeating Froome by curtailing their support for Quintana in order to ensure that Valverde also finished on the podium. While the team was successful in their endeavour, Quintana finished second while Valverde rounded off the podium, many thought that going all in for Quintana might have dethroned Froome. At this year’s Tour, though, it will be all for the diminutive climber.


This year, Quintana has won two WorldTour stage races in his build up – the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour de Romandie – more than his top rivals Froome and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff).


“My main rivals will be Contador and Froome. We must find a strategy and wait to see how they go in the mountains,” Quintana said. “We have seen Froome attack and drop Contador in the Critérium du Dauphiné. I think that they have very similar strengths and I’ll try to take advantage of their rivalry to defend myself.


“Froome’s attacks were very powerful and no one could follow. This year, he has said he has delayed his preparation a little to be at my level in the last week. Hopefully, we can put up with the attacks. I have prepared well, have made some preparations to make those changes in pace.”


Unlike his main rivals, Quintana opted not to race the Critérium du Dauphiné or the Tour de Suisse. Like in last years, he preferred to stay at home as long as possible at 2800 metres altitude before returning to Europe to take on the five stage Route du Sud.



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