Nairo Quintana has subtly criticised the Movistar team management, suggesting his responsibility for winning races throughout the year has hampered his chances at the Tour de France. In a long interview with Colombian newspaper El Tiempo, Quintana also addressed the issue of the team’s signings for 2018, notably a certain Mikel Landa.
Quintana has been a prolific winner of week-long stage races since he turned professional, with two titles apiece at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Vuelta a Burgos, along with wins at the Tour de Romandie, Volta a Catalunya, Vuelta al País Vasco, Volta Valenciana, Tour de San Luis, and Route du Sud.
Despite victories at the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España, he has fallen just shy of his so-called sueño amarillo – yellow dream – at the Tour de France, where he finished on the podium three times in a row between 2013 and 2016. Last year, Quintana finished down in 12th place after attempting the Giro-Tour double, which prompted his father, Luis, to scald Movistar for ‘burning him out’.
Quintana’s comments in the El Tiempo interview chime with those made by his father, as he explains that this year he’ll have a reduced programme and that the only race he’ll worry about is the Tour.
“We wanted to let the body recover, allow it some respite, because I approached every year with the blessed bad habit of competing for everything. The boss says, ‘it’s because Nairo’s ambitious’. No, Nairo isn’t, Nairo does what you want and what you order,” Quintana said.
“I go with a sports director and with teammates. They want to win the race and when they have a leader like me, well, they want to earn respect, show courage, and win.”
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