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In the weeks preceding the early season stage race known as the “Race to the Sun,” Quintana also plans to start the Tour de la Provence (Feb. 10-13), the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var (Feb. 18-20), and the Ardèche Classic (Feb. 26).
“Nairo will start the 2022 season with a ‘classic’ program that worked perfectly for him two seasons ago when he joined the Arkéa-Samsic team. He has a reference point for his training with a sporting year that will start with the Tour de la Provence,” said Arkéa-Samsic director sportif Yvon Ledanois. “He will then ride the Tour of the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var, then the Faun Ardèche, before Paris-Nice. The highlights of his season will be Paris-Nice and the Tour of Catalunya, a program that was planned two years ago but that couldn’t be realized because of the pandemic.”
Quintana won the green jersey and the overall at the 2020 Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var. He also secured the GC win at the Tour de la Provence that same year.
At the 2021 Paris-Nice, Primož Roglič nearly had the race secured until a series of crashes and a dislocated shoulder on the final stage knocked the three-time Vuelta a España winner out of contention. These unfortunate events allowed Max Schachmann to earn a second consecutive overall win.
While “Nairoman” will lead the French squad in France, Nacer Bouhanni and Warren Barguil will overlap at a few events in France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy.
The team has penciled in Barguil for the Mallorca Challenge (Jan. 26-30). He’ll follow this with the Vuelta a Murcia (Feb. 12) before heading to the Volta ao Algarve (Feb. 16-20). Then he’s off to the Ardèche and Drôme Classics (Feb. 26 and 27). The following week, Barguil will be on the start at Strade Bianche (Mar. 5), and then he’ll continue an Italian campaign, at Tirreno-Adriatico (Mar. 7-13), and cap the campaign at Milano-Torino (Mar. 16).
In 2019, Barguil finished in third at the Drôme Classic. He returned the following year, in 2020, to finish one position better, in second place.
“Warren will start the 2022 season with the Trofeo de Mallorca and will then race the Vuelta de Murcia and the Volta Ao Algarve in Portugal, where he will be designated leader, and then he will come back to a classic weekend for him, consisting of the Faun Ardèche and the Classic de Drôme. He will then compete in the Strade Bianche, which he did well in 2014, with a nice eighth place in Siena,” said directeur sportif Yvon Caër.
Bouhanni also has a multi-country campaign to kick-start his 2022 season and has plans for the Saudi Tour (Feb. 1-5), followed by the Clasica de Almeiria, in Spain (Feb. 13) and the Drôme Classic (Feb. 27). Bouhanni also has plans for the monument Milano-Sanremo on March 19.
“The return of the Saudi Tour to the 2022 calendar allows us to enter a team with Nacer, who in 2020 opened his victory account under our colors on the occasion of this event,” director sportif Sébastien Hinault said. “The change of program for him this year is due to the fact that he will compete in Tirreno-Adriatico which will be a different approach for him from Milano-Sanremo which as everyone knows remains one of his big objectives.”
Barguil and Bouhanni will share leadership duties at Tirreno-Adriatico.
In 2021, Tadej Pogačar won the overall at the early-season Italian stage race known as the “Race of Two Seas.”