Nairo Quintana wants to be the first to bring the yellow jersey to Colombia and is “fitter than ever” to defeat his main rival, Chris Froome, at the Tour de France.
Quintana has another 11 days to prepare for the world’s most prestigious cycling event, but already is “motivated and fitter than in other years,” he told Spanish news agency Sky.
The goal is winning the Tour. It’s the Ground Tour I’m still missing in palmares, one that I’ve always dreamt of.
Nairo Quintana via EFE
As in previous years, the most feared of Quintana’s rivals is Chris Froome, the Brit who won the tour last year and who will compete despite an ongoing doping investigation.
“Froome and Team Sky are the number one contenders for this race, that’s obvious,” Quntana said.
“After them, there are some riders who stand a big chance, especially if they get through the pavé stage unscathed. We’ve already seen [Vincenzo] Nibali taking advantage of such cobbled stages when he won the Tour four years ago.
“Then there’s another kind of riders more or less similar to each other, with some stronger or weaker points but quite alike, names likes [Richie] Porte, [Romain] Bardet… Plus, we’ve got to see how Roglic tackles the race, how’s his form, and if he’s able to confirm what he’s shown this year.”
To beat the competition, Colombia’s most famous rider will arrive in France with “probably the best squad I’ve had by my side for a Grand Tour.”
Quintana’s Movistar has two more potential winners, Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa. “As the race develops, the scenario” of who will lead the squad to Paris “should get clearer,” he told EFE.
Of Movistar’s three star riders, Quintana has the best records; twice he ended behind Froome in the general classification of the Tour de France, and he has won both the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España.
It’s the yellow jersey that’s still missing.