Nairo Quintana (Movistar) will do the Giro-Tour double in 2017 but his goals in the Giro remain unclear. He made the announcement in an interview with the Colombian daily El Tiempo.
"My schedule is already set. We will go to the Giro to try to do our best but with the goal to come out in good shape for the Tour," says Quintana in a long interview with El Tiempo.
This could mean that the Giro will only be a preparation for the Tour de France. However, history has demonstrated that the Giro has rarely been as good a preparation for the Tour de France as a big training block followed by participation in the Critérium du Dauphiné or the Tour de Suisse.
The decision marks a dramatic shift for Quintana who has usually done very little racing in the build-up to the Tour. In recent years, he has only done the Route du Sud between the Tour de Romandie and the Tour.
"The goal is the Tour. We will go on the Giro with a lot of motivation, determination and a great team, to see what we can do. We would like to win the Giro but we have a commitment for the Tour."
Quintana reveals that the fact that it is the hundredth edition of the Giro has greatly contributed to his choice after he had his breakthrough in the 100th edition of the Tour in 2013.
"That's why (because it's the hundredth edition, ed.) we face this challenge, because it is a special date to celebrate. I have won (the Giro), and why not do it in 2017?"
Nairo Quintana also confirmed that he will not participate in La Vuelta. He will start his season in Spain in January and February before heading to Colombia for training. In 2014 when Quintana won the Giro he started his season at the Tour of San Luis before doing Tirreno where he finished second and the Volta a Catalunya and then he trained in Colombia, landing in Ireland for the Grande Partenza more than a month after his last race.
In the interview, Quintana also reflected on his 2016 season which he judges the best season of his career. He was third in San Luis (where he helped his brother Dayer to win), third in the Basque Country and won the Tour de Catalunya, the Tour de Romandie and his first Vuelta, not to mention the Route du Sud. His third place at the Tour de France, seen by many as a disappointment, remains something to be proud of. It is his worst place on the Grand Boucle in three participations (he was second in 2013 and 2015). In 2016 he finished on the final podium of all the events in which he participated, with the exception of his national championships where he was fourth.
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