As he tackles his fourth Tour de France and second Grand Tour of the season, Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) has recognised that if he wants to dominate this year’s route, he’ll have to be “much more daring” than usual.
For many reasons, there’s widespread agreement that this could well be a more open Tour than in previous years. “This time round there is no script,” Quintana’s manager Eusebio Unzue pronounced during Movistar’s pre-race press conference.
That unpredictability is partly thanks to the uncertainty surrounding Chris Froome’s racing condition, as well as the greater number of stronger rivals opposing the three-time Tour champion. But that uncertainty has also intensified, Quintana said in the same press conference, thanks to the 2017 Tour’s unpredictable route, with fewer summit finishes, less time trialling and more finishes after descents.
“It’s going to be a very strange Tour,” he announced. “There are some mountain stages, but fewer summit finishes, so then we will have to fight all the way through to the finish. We’ll have to be much more daring.”
The other big question mark for Quintana is the knock-on effect of his racing in the Giro d’Italia, and what consequences doing one Grand Tour will have on his Tour de France performance. Barring Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) and Quintana, none of the other top contenders for the Tour has also raced the Giro d’Italia, with Mikel Landa (Sky) Geraint Thomas (Sky) and Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo), all GC candidates in the Giro, now racing the Tour in less high-pressure support roles.
“It’s a different kind of preparation, it’s clear that the Tour is the most important race of the season, but we got through the Giro d’Italia well and we’re looking to see what we can do here,” Quintana said afterwards.
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