Nairo Quintana insists his bid to deny Chris Froome a third straight Tour de France crown will not be derailed by his decision to ride the Giro d’Italia before that.
The Colombian finished on the podium in each of his three rides at the Tour de France, but behind three-time winner Froome on each occasion in 2013, 2015 and 2016.
However, for the first time he will tackle the Giro-Tour double on the 100th edition of the three-week ride around Italy in May, which Quintana won on his only previous attempt in 2014.
“The 100th edition of the Giro was always attractive, but what gets us most excited and the one with which we have a big debt is the Tour de France,” Quintana said on Wednesday as his Movistar team held their season launch in Madrid.
“We will prepare for the Giro not like a cakewalk or a training session, but much more calmly.”
Quintana believes previous experience shows he reaches his peak in a second Grand Tour of the season.
“This year we’ve made that bet. It will be a big challenge to face the Tour after the Giro,” said Quintana.
Froome is aiming to become just the fifth rider in history to win four or more Tours and Quintana admitted the Briton will arrive fresher to the start line in Dusseldorf on July 1.
However, in contrast to previous seasons, Quintana has been clearly confirmed as Movistar’s team leader despite the presence of veteran Alejandro Valverde and believes he has the team around him to topple Team Sky’s recent dominance at the Tour.
“He (Froome) is in the best stage of his sporting career and we are developing, growing, we have a great team that does everything with great heart and that commits me to fight and beat him,” added Quintana.
Valverde will take part in the Tour and is expected to lead Movistar in the Vuelta a Espana on home soil in August and September.
Quintana and Valverde get their seasons under way at the four individual one-day race Challenge Mallorca event from Thursday until Sunday. – Agence France-Presse