Nairo Quintana gets Tour de France bearings with his action-packed Route d’Occitanie
Quintana finishes seventh in pre-Tour tune-up: 'Nairo showed he was already in the mix with two weeks to go before the Tour de France'
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Nairo Quintana got his bearings for the Tour de France at Route d’Occitanie, finishing in seventh place after an action-packed race.
The Colombian, returning to competition after crashing at the Tour of Turkey in April, might have feared the worst on day two when he fell with nine kilometers to go. He came away with no time loss and only superficial injuries to his elbow.
On the race’s decisive third stage, over several first-category climbs to Les Angles, Quintana briefly followed the pivotal move of Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) and Carlos Rodríguez (Ineos Grenadiers) before dropping back.
He was visibly not at his best, subsequently yo-yoing off the back when rivals Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and Cristián Rodríguez (TotalEnergies) subsequently caught him at the top of the penultimate climb, the Col des Hares.
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“It’s a good race to get back into the rhythm of competition. It was very hot, hellish, which made us tired,” Quintana said afterward.
Sunday’s flat final stage of La Route d’Occitanie saw crosswind splits with 75km to go.
The little Colombian was an unexpected protagonist, regularly on the front mixing it with TotalEnergies and Ineos Grenadiers powerhouses. A past winner of the race, Quintana finished seventh overall as Michael Woods (Israel-Premier Tech) took the first GC win of his professional career.
“The overall result is quite satisfactory. The icing on the cake would have been an overall podium but Nairo showed he was already in the mix with two weeks to go before the Tour de France,” Arkea-Samsic directeur sportif Roger Tréhin said.