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Colombian star Nairo Quintana says he’s fully recovered from double knee surgery in the off-season as he prepares for his season debut at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var.
The 31-year-old Arkéa-Samsic rider went under the knife to repair cartilage damage in both knees. In 2020, he fell on his right knee when he was hit by a car during a training ride, and later crashed on his left knee during the Tour de France.
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“I’ve recovered well, and it’s been almost two weeks since I’ve been doing a little more intense training trips,” Quintana said Tuesday in a team statement. “I am [training] a bit normally. The healing time of my operation on both knees is now over, my rehabilitation, too. I’m starting to be in good condition.
“As soon as the green light was given to me by the surgeon following my surgery on both knees, I resumed training,” Quintana said. “I think I’ll be in good shape halfway through the season. My ambitions at that time will be to try and win one-week stage races. We also have a team goal, the Europe Tour ranking. We were close to that goal in 2020, and we all want to achieve it this year.”
There was no mention of the recent Giro d’Italia snub, when Arkéa-Samsic was left out of wildcard invites for the season’s first grand tour. Nor were there comments on the police investigation during last year’s Tour when officials raided hotel rooms belonging to Arkéa-Samsic riders. French police have not updated the status of the inquiry.
Quintana won last year’s Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var in his debut season with Arkéa-Samsic, but said he won’t be in condition to challenge for the overall for the three-stage race in southern France starting Friday.
“I will make my comeback in 2021 in competition on this event,” he said. “But what is certain is that I do not have the same condition as last year, nevertheless my motivation remains strong.”