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Tour de France

Nairo Quintana puts GC back in focus for Tour de France

Warren Barguil will start as co-leader and will have freedom to hunt stages in the mountains in the Tour's final half.

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Nairo Quintana is putting the GC back at the center of his ambitions for the 2022 Tour de France.

Arkéa-Samsic confirmed its Tour lineup, with the three-time Colombian Tour podium-finisher taking aim at another strong run in the overall classification.

“We are counting on Nairo to lead and take his responsibilities,” said Yvon Ledanois. “We hope he achieves a good GC on the evening of the Champs-Élysées.

“Nairo will have riders 100 percent dedicated to him. He must have a good general classification in mind, while also having the idea of aiming for a stage success in the mountains.”

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Quintana, now 32, hit three consecutive Tour podiums, with second in 2013 and 2014, and third in 2015.

Since then, he’s struggled to match his earlier success, with eighth in 2019 and 10th in the 2018. Last year, he was 28th overall.

The second-tier French team is holding out hope that Quintana has one more miracle in his legs.

A notable absence is Winner Anacona, a longtime Quintana ally, with Connor Swift and Hugo Hofstetter earning bids to provide extra muscle in the first week.

“Our goal is to have a strong GC with Nairo,” said sport director Yvon Caër. “We bring a mix of riders, especially in light of the challenging first week of the race, with cobblestones and wind.

“We have climbers who can support Nairo in the mountains as well as riders who can handle the first week,” he said. “Warren Barguil will also be protected the first week, and if Nairo is well-placed on GC, he will have freedom to secure a stage win if circumstances are favorable.”