FLORENCE (VN) — Nairo Quintana is betting on a super Team Movistar and a slightly tired Chris Froome in his Tour de France bid next month.
The Colombian, already twice second in the French grand tour, is racing the Tour de Suisse next week. Just like in the Tour, Movistar will field three captains to win the race: Spaniards Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde, along with Quintana.
“I feel in good condition,” Quintana told media in Colombia, including the Marca newspaper. “How to beat Froome? I’m going into the race with few competition days and much quieter days. Compared to last year, I’ve spent a lot of time at home resting and training at altitude. That’s the plan to take on Froome because we have changed the roster with a great team and I hope it is possible come July.”
Quintana won the 2014 Giro d’Italia and the 2016 Vuelta a España. He twice finished second in the Tour de France behind Froome, but faltered in recent years. Last year he was 12th. [related title=”More Tour de France news” align=”left” tag=”Tour-de-France”]
Movistar brought in extra firepower with Landa, signing the Basque rider from Team Sky. In 2017, he helped Froome win the Tour a fourth time and placed fourth overall.
Instead of sending Valverde to the Giro d’Italia, it has also recruited him again for the Tour de France. With the trio and five helpers, they will take on the Tour de France. To prepare, the three will race together for the first time this season in the Tour de Suisse, June 9-17.
“We have a strong team, everything is better when we all work together, the idea is to support the three leaders, depending on what happens, the team will decide who to support,” Quintana said.
“That’s going to be the same in the Roubaix cobble stage [nine]. In 2015, we also raced over the pavé and we had a great time. The stage this year is more difficult. It’s the same for everyone and anything can happen. One can win or lose minutes.”
Quintana named Froome, Richie Porte (BMC Racing), and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First-Drapac) as the favorites for the 2018 Tour. Froome, who just won the Giro d’Italia, is trying to win the Giro/Tour double. No one has done so since 1998, when Marco Pantani won both.
Quintana tried to win the double in 2017, but he finished second to Tom Dumoulin in the Giro and suffered at the Tour. He knows what toll that will take on Froome’s body.
“It will take weeks of recovery for Froome, that’s the way it is for every cyclist. It has happened to me,” Quintana said.
“I think he will arrive in good condition and I will do everything to defeat him. We will give everything as always and go to defeat him with good strategy as we did in the Vuelta a España. We feel very good and united as a team.
“It’s not only him, but there are other cyclists who change their strategies for the Tour and we will face a high level of competition.”