Nairo Quintana, banged up after crashing heavily in the Colombian national championships last weekend, will not race the Ruta del Sol as scheduled next week in Spain.
Movistar officials announced Friday that Quintana will return to Europe in March to race Tirreno-Adriatico, and will miss a chance to compete against Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Chris Froome (Sky) at the Ruta del Sol from February 18-22.
According to media reports in Colombia, Quintana hit the deck about 50 meters from the finish, banging up his back and right arm. Initial medical reports suggest the crash did not affect his right shoulder, which was operated on after crashing out of the Vuelta a España last year.
The 25-year-old Colombian rode to third at the Tour de San Luís during his season debut last month, and was hoping to use the Ruta del Sol to help build his form heading toward the Tour de France.
Quintana’s had a rough ride since becoming the first Colombian to win the Giro d’Italia last May. After capturing the leader’s jersey at the Vuelta last fall, Quintana narrowly avoided catastrophe in a high-speed crash during the individual time trial in stage 10, only to crash out early the next day.
Quintana underwent surgery on the complicated shoulder injury, but told VeloNews in November that the procedure shouldn’t impact his preparation for the 2015 season.
There were no firm details available Friday, but Movistar officials described Quintana’s injuries as “bumps and bruises,” and said he will reset his European debut for Tirreno-Adriatico in March. Last year, Quintana finished second overall to Contador in the one-week stage race across Italy.
Without Quintana, the Ruta del Sol loses a bit of its otherwise very bright luster. Contador and Froome are both still scheduled to race, as well as other potential grand tour podium contenders, including Jean Christophe Péraud (Ag2r La Mondiale), Bauke Mollema (Trek Factory Racing), Pierre Rolland (Europcar), and Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto-Soudal).
Leading Movistar will be rising talents Juanjo Lobato and Javi Moreno. Three-time defending champion Alejandro Valverde is skipping Ruta this year, choosing to race instead at the Tour of Oman. He pulled out of Friday’s stage at the Tour of Qatar with illness.