Tour de France
Overall second-placed Valverde and white jersey Quintana make an overview of their outstanding 2013 Tour start in the race’s first rest day, with two weeks still on the way to their main goal: making it into the final podium in Paris
In the first rest day of the 2013 Tour de France, Alejandro Valverde -second overall in the race- and Nairo Quintana -leader of the Young Riders’ competition- spoke to a multitudinous press room in the Movistar Team hotel in Vigneux-de-Bretagne. The two top performers from the telephone squad in the opening nine days of this year’s Tour made debriefed what happened so far and commented on their expectations for the two weeks still to come, with a dream on mind to taking the Blue jersey into the podium of Paris on Sunday 21. These were some of their reactions:
Alejandro Valverde: “My overview on the Tour so far is really good. I’m in 2nd place after such a first week we always were afraid of, plus the two Pyrenean stages, really beautiful for the spectators and for us, as he offered such a big spectacle. It’s true that Froome was isolated yesterday, but there was almost anything but climbing and downhill on the route, and we all could see it’s really difficult to drop him into the climbs. The pace was really on all day – pushing even harder was really complicated. We took one rival out of contention with Porte, and that was a good reward for us and an important thing for the remainder of the race.
“All rivals -Froome, Alberto, Purito- can have weaknesses. It will be a long race and will all come down to the four Alpine stages, all of them really hard. We have seen Sky doesn’t have such a strong squad as they had last year, and should Froome become isolated again as he did yesterday, we can really hurt him. Still I find difficult to form any sort of conjunction against him. We saw him left on his own yesterday and it would have been a good day to profit, but you could see us working alone at the front. If we had found better cooperation, we could have made the different. It will be hard to find such a situation again. There are still lots of mountains ahead and every single contender can have a bad day and lose everything – just as it happened with Porte yesterday: he was the second strongest man on course and… see what happened. The Tour is not won or lost until we get to Paris.
“Looking at the Dauphiné TT, you can clearly say Froome is over myself as well as the other main contenders. That’s why I hope to lose as little time as possible against him and stay into the same times or even better than the other rivals. We’re still fighting for the win, but we have to appreciate what we already have and try and conserve this place. On the other hand, you all have seen what Nairo is achieving. He has already shown since this season he’s capable winning WorldTour races and now he’s showing he’s the best rider uphill along with Froome. It’s better to have him as a team-mate rather than as a rival, obviously. He looks to me as someone able to win one or even more Grand Tours in the future.
“Leaving the goal of winning a stage apart for the podium in Paris? I’d sign if they offered that to me. I already won stages but haven’t made it onto the podium. I feel like I’m in the best moment of my career. Last year in the Tour, crashes didn’t allow me to show it, but I proved to be mature enough in the Vuelta so I could earn a podium place in the Tour. There’s still a long way to go, but I’m enjoying my race so far and I’m fully into contention. I want to thank all team members – they did a great work from the first to the last one. I want to remember Iván Gutiérrez, too. He had a bad day yesterday and had to go back home, we’ll miss him so much.“
Nairo Quintana: “I’m still a young rider and don’t know how far I can get. For the time being, I’m into the top-ten overall and I hope to keep that place as well as the white jersey until Paris, but my commitment with the team and Alejandro is full. I came here to accomplish a mission and all team riders are doing their best for Alejandro. We have proven to be the strongest squad in this year’s Tour, and we will keep fighting to finish as high as we can. Of course I’d like to beat Froome in the mountains, but I have to be more calm, because there are still a lot of stages remaining and the race can be too hard for me. Alejandro is a calm person, as well into the bike as off the races. He’s a role model to me: he’s not like other riders who sometimes feel like superior to the rest of the world. I like his personality and he’s a person I really respect and admire. At this moment, I think Movistar Team is the best squad in the Tour, and we proved it yesterday. We’re all strong and will make things difficult for our rivals.”