Quintana says Unzué will decide whether he does Giro d’Italia or Tour de France
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Quintana says Unzué will decide whether he does Giro d’Italia or Tour de France

by Shane Stokes at 11:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Giro d'Italia
Colombian rider believes a big result is more possible in Italy but accepts team manager may opt for French event

Nairo QuintanaHe earlier indicated that he was likely to ride the Giro d’Italia in 2014, targeting that over the Tour de France, but now Nairo Quintana has said that his Grand Tour programme is undecided and that the Movistar team chief Eusebio Unzué will make the ultimate call on that.

The Colombian stunned when he finished second overall in his first-ever participation in the race this year, being the closest rider to the eventual winner Chris Froome (Sky).

However although he can expect to improve in 2014 due to being a year older and more experienced, Quintana has acknowledged that the Giro route favours him better than that of the Tour. In that light, he has justified the thoughts of concentrating on what remains a slightly smaller race.

The event is hugely respected, of course, and final overall victory would be a big addition to any rider’s CV. However Unzué may well decide that the rider’s strong Tour debut warrants another participation in that event, and not just as an afterthought after the Italian tour.

Quintana has weighed up both options. “The Tour is the Tour and it has a route that is fairly interesting, although some stages, such as the cobblestone one, which don’t favour me and the last time trial is long. So if you want to fight for the podium, it is necessary to reach that point with some advantage,” he said, according to Marca.

How a rider such as Quintana will build that advantage is in the mountains and in that regard, the 2014 Tour route does provide several opportunities. There are five summit finishes, namely La Planche des Belles Filles on stage ten, Chamrousse three stages later, then Risoul (stage fourteen), Pla d'Adet (stage 17) and Hautacam on stage eighteen. In addition to that, there will be a short uphill at the finish of Gerardmer on stage eight.

“The Tour is a fabulous race, which always fascinated me. I really like to race in France,” he said.

However the Giro d’Italia offers him nine summit finishes, and this would likely boost his chances of overall success. He needs to weigh up the likelihood of victory in both events and, if he believes it’s too soon to triumph in the Tour, if first at the Giro is worth more to him than a podium in the Tour.

He could do both, of course, but in recent years very few riders have been able to be strong in both events.

“The Giro is more complete and is perfect for me. The time trial is more favourable and it [the Giro] could be spectacular, but let’s wait and see what the boss [Unzué] says.”

What is known is his early season programme, although it’s not quite set in stone. He will start in the Tour de San Luis and then race in the Challenge Mallorca events. Paris-Nice is likely his next race, although he will replace that with Tirreno Adriatico if he does opt to do the Giro. He said that he’d like to go for a result at this point of the year.

After that the Volta a Catalunya follows, then whichever other races he and the team believe sync best with his goals.

Overall, he is clear what he’d like to achieve, even if he’s not yet sure which three week race he’ll do.

“Clearly to match this season will be difficult, but not impossible. If work as usual, I think things will go well. The goal is a podium in a Grand Tour.”


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