The lure of the 100th edition of the Giro d’Italia has proved too strong for the former winner and reigning Vuelta a España champion Nairo Quintana (Team Movistar) to ignore in 2017.
The 26-year-old Colombian, who was named ‘Sportsman of the Year’ by El Tiempo, told the local newspaper this weekend he is coming off the best year of his career and looks forward to the challenge of returning to Italy to vie for a Giro-Tour de France double.
“Everything is determined already,” said Quintana, who last raced – and won – the Italian grand tour in 2014. “We will go to the Giro to make a showing, to try to do well there, but with the objective of coming out of that race in good shape to take on the Tour.
When asked if the centenary edition played a role, Quintana was clear in his response.
“That is why we have dared to do it, because it will be a special date, an ideal commemoration to celebrate it,” he said. “We already won, and why not do it again in 2017.”
It was a banner year for Quintana, who aside from capturing his second grand tour win of his young career also won Tour de Romandie, Volta a Catalunya and his second Route Du Sud. However, he assured the media the Tour was still key target.
“The goal is the Tour,” claimed Quintana, who finished third at the Tour in July behind Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and 3 winner Christopher Froome (Team Sky). “We are going to face the Giro with a lot of character, determination and with a great team, to see what we can do. We are thrilled to win it, but we have a commitment to the Tour.”
With both the Giro and the Tour on deck, there are currently no intentions to defend his red jersey in Spain.
“[The Vuelta] is not in the plans,” admitted Quintana. “The Giro and the Tour is more than enough.”