The Colombian star’s preparations for the post-COVID season were thrown into doubt in recent months when global travel restrictions and then a training incident put into question the 30-year-old’s ability to get the wheels rolling again for pre-Tour de France preparation races.
However, all has now fallen into place, and his Arkéa-Samsic team has confirmed he will return to racing at the one-day race centered around the fearsome Mont Ventoux.
Quintana will return to Europe later this week aboard a flight packed with South American stars. Although the coronavirus pandemic had forced Colombia to close its borders and led to tight EU travel restrictions, the Colombian Sports Ministry has organized an all-star charter flight carrying the likes of Quintana, Egan Bernal (Team Ineos), and Rigoberto Urán (EF Pro Cycling) from Bogotá to Madrid this Sunday.
Quintana has also had to overcome a number of minor injuries having collided with a car while training on his local Colombian roads at the start of this month. He was able to make a swift return to training having avoided serious harm, suffering only a “polytrauma to the right knee” that required a short rehab process.
The second-ever Dénivelé Challenge next month is set to draw a strong start list, with Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates), Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Miguel Angel López slated to be in attendance. The race will use a different route for 2020, and will pack in two ascents of the “Géant de Provence.”
Although he didn’t race the inaugural Dénivelé Challenge, Quintana will have fond memories of the fierce slopes of Ventoux having won a stage finishing at Chalet Reynard at the Tour de la Provence this February.
Quintana is slated to be continuing his preparations for this summer’s Tour de France at the Tour de l’Ain, August 7 – 9, followed by the Critérium du Dauphiné, August 12 – 16.
Nairo Quintana reprendra la compétition le 6 août à l’occasion du Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge
— Team Arkéa Samsic (@Arkea_Samsic) July 16, 2020