Vuelta a España (rest day 1)
Quintana-Valverde duo -provisional 6th & 7th overall in Vuelta a España- promise to battle into six upcoming stages, starting with tomorrow's six demanding ascents towards Cortals d'Encamp
After almost 400km of road transfer yesterday from Castellón to their hotel in Andorra, the Movistar Team is enjoying a well-deserved first rest day in the 2015 Vuelta a España on Tuesday. As well as recovering strength and healing from injuries, the telephone squad spent the morning doing a recon of part of tomorrow's grueling 11th stage, with six rated ascents in just 139km and a confirmed vertical drop over 5,000 meters. In the afternoon, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde, sixth and seventh overall in the race, expressed their feelings about six days that might become crucial for the final outcome.
“I think that tomorrow's stage would have been better for me in another point of the season," stated Quintana, also speaking on Valverde's behalf. “It's the hardest in the Vuelta, no doubt; we came here after a Tour that squezzed the best out of us and we're reaching this point of the season tired, but that's mostly everyone's situation. The important thing here is that we're both ready to keep pushing, in a stage that suits us both and, should we find good legs tomorrow, we'll try to please the fans. We'll try to offer the best of us two. We're still waiting to see how my body evolves, since I had never ridden this 'double' and it's being difficult. I kept defending myself until this point and mountains are really coming tomorrow – hope they're calling for me."
Nairo thinks it might be possible “to take advantage of the fact that we're two against the rest, who are mainly by themselves in the hardest situation. We're not as fresh as we were in the Tour, but I hope we can profit from this advantage to make up some time, which could be really god before the TT in Burgos”. An analysis shared by Valverde: “There weren't any stages where we could plan any strategy; now there will be many where we can play with attacks by one or the another, and try something different, whereas the race so far was pushing with the power we could into the last climb."
Regarding his injury, Valverde confirms to feel “well, even though it could be better, but on the bike, I can't complain. When not sitting on the saddle, I can stand the pain, and I hope it won't be a problem for tomorrow. What really hurts me is raising my arm over my shoulder, that's what makes me suffer the most right now. I have no bruises, but the crash was really hard. Still, we mustn't make up any excuses: we're confident about our chances, both of us are doing well, and we'll fight for success. Tomorrow's stage is really impressive, a really hard one if you're at 100%, actually. Also, after a rest day we all know that the body reacts quite unpredictably, even more so after a long transfer yesterday, going to bed late, and resting at high altitude, which is not ideal for your body. Many things will affect everyone's performance tomorrow."
Quintana spoke about the duo's rivals: “One of the strongest could be Aru. He could rest after the Giro, a race that allows you to peak twice over the season, and I think he'll be faring well. We also saw Chris Froome doing better, and his team will fight strong; we'll pay attention to Dumoulin, who has surprised everyone with his level up to the date; and Purito, riding on home roads, over a stage he designed himself."