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Carcassonne, France (AFP) — Nairo Quintana said he would welcome rivals Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin paying for their efforts in the Giro d’Italia in May as he looks to relaunch his Tour de France bid in the Pyrenees.
Colombian climbing specialist Quintana is one of several yellow jersey contenders who has been battered into near submission by Team Sky as the British outfit look to secure their sixth yellow jersey from the past seven editions.
With Welshman Geraint Thomas in yellow and four-time champion and teammate Froome second overall at 1:39, Sky are in pole position ahead of three consecutive stages in the Pyrenees beginning Tuesday.
Quintana, who has struggled to challenge Sky’s intense pace-setting in the high mountains, has slipped to eighth overall at 4:23 behind Thomas and over two minutes behind Dumoulin, third overall at 1:50.
But he hopes an improved effort from Movistar, and the effects of the Giro d’Italia — won by Froome last month ahead of Dumoulin — can help their bid to turn fortunes around.
“We’ve lost a lot of time in the mountains in the past week, which is obviously not good,” Quintana said after the 15th stage on Sunday.
“But we still believe we can turn things around in the third week.
“We’re hoping to find better form in the last week, as we usually do.
“Maybe after so many days of competition, and the fact our rivals raced the Giro d’Italia, can give us a little bit of an advantage.”
Quintana, who won the 2014 Giro d’Italia and the 2016 Tour of Spain, has struggled to add the yellow jersey to his collection. But the 28-year-old has already experienced racing in the Tour after riding the Giro. He was second overall in the 2017 Giro d’Italia behind Dumoulin. At the Tour de France barely six weeks later, the Colombian finished a lowly 12th.