Movistar confirms that 2013 runner-up Quintana will miss Tour de France, will target Giro d’Italia instead
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Movistar confirms that 2013 runner-up Quintana will miss Tour de France, will target Giro d’Italia instead

by VeloNation Press at 8:17 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Giro d'Italia
 
Valverde to lead Spanish WorldTour team in cycling’s top event, both riders will then ride Vuelta a España

Nairo QuintanaAlthough Nairo Quintana finished second in his first Tour de France last July and underlined his talent and strong early-season form by winning last week’s Tour de San Luis, his Movistar team has taken the final decision that he will target the Giro d’Italia rather than the Tour de France this year.

Today’s announcement means that Quintana will miss the 2014 Tour de France, with the team to be led instead by Alejandro Valverde.

While Valverde’s best result thus far in the Tour is fifth, compared to Quintana’s runner-up slot in his debut, team manager Eusebio Unzué has said that the decision is about maximising the Colombian’s long term development in the sport .

“Personally, I don't think taking Nairo to the Tour at his age, plus with the pressure of improving last year's result, is interesting for his future. I prefer to keep him growing into the development period he's still in and let him know the Giro, because we think it's an extremely interesting race for him to progress on so many aspects, and where he will enjoy full leadership in a Grand Tour for the first time.”

He confirms that Valverde will lead the team at the Tour de France, and then both riders will be part of a combined assault on the Vuelta a España.

In riding the Giro d’Italia, Quintana will be up against a number of strong team leaders such as Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team), Richie Porte (Sky), Dan Martin (Garmin Sharp) and Nicolas Roche (Tinkoff Saxo). The race begins in Belfast, Ireland, on May 9th and spends three days on the island before heading back to Italy.

Even though Valverde has never finished on the podium in the Tour and will be 34 years of age in July, Unzue is convinced that he has made the right decision. “Alejandro's presence into the squad also had its influence [in opting for the Giro d’Italia for Quintana], in having a solid leader for the Tour in him.

“He has full backing from us - he's earned it. He already proved last year that he was perfectly capable of reaching the final podium despite that mechanical.”

Unzue is referring to the problem Valverde had on stage thirteen while sitting second overall; he lost almost ten minutes that day and dropped to sixteenth. He then rode for Quintana for the remainder of the race and finished eighth in Paris.

Earlier this month the Spaniard said that he believed it was still possible to win the Tour. “I feel good, both physically and psychologically,” he told AS. “In 2012 I was second in the Vuelta and in 2013, third. I have not finished with the bike, I have three or four good seasons left. I am motivated, this is the key to training and to look for more wins. Evans won the Tour at 34 years of age, so why not?”

He is due to make his 2014 debut next week in the Dubai Tour, then will ride the Mallorcan races, the Vuelta a Andalucía, the Vuelta a Murcia, the Clasica de Almería, Strade Bianche, Roma Maxima, Milano-Sanremo, Dwars door Vlaanderen, E3 Prijs Harelbeke, GP Indurain, País Vasco and the Klasika Primavera de Amorebieta. After that he will concentrate on the Ardennes Classics, and ride either the Tour de Suisse or the Critérium du Dauphiné as his final preparation for the Tour de France.

As for Quintana, the Tour de San Luis winner will head back to Colombia for the birth of his first child. He’ll spend February there, then return to Spain for the Vuelta a Murcia and the Clásica de Almería. After that he’ll do Roma Maxima, Tirreno-Adriático, the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta a Asturias prior to the Giro d’Italia.

Despite their busy schedules, Unzue is convinced that he and Valverde will both be in good form for the Vuelta a España. “Both have time to recover from their efforts, and it's a race that suit them both to perfection and which is also a priority for Movistar,” he said.

“I think this race schedule satisfies our sponsors, the race organisers and also offers chances on important races to other riders of our team who deserved to have them. Movistar Team is not just Nairo and Alejandro.”

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