Movistar Team reacts to 103th edition's route presented on Tuesday, with plenty of different mountains stages and more TT terrain
The 2016 Tour de France was presented today in Paris, featuring more TT terrain than in the previous year -54km, divided into a hilly, 37-kilometer parcours on stage thirteen and a mountain-like, 17km effort in the Alps, with the Domancy and Chozeaux climbs before a short dscent into Megève- and plenty of mountains -in all Massif Central (Le Lioran), Pyrenees (three stages, including one day in Spain), Mont Ventoux, Jura and four days in a very demanding Alps-. Eusebio Unzué was the Movistar Team’s representation in the event, looking forward to repeat last year’s success in Paris with two GC podium finishes, the while jersey and the teams’ overall.
Nairo Quintana: “It's a good parcours for us. I think the mountains really suit us, plenty on them on the course with some finishes I know and shone in in the past, like Mont Ventoux or Morzine. Also, from what I could see, the long ITT isn't completely flat, so it shouldn't be bad for us. Even though we saw last year that the pavé wasn't a big disadvantage for us last year, not having it in 2016, combined with an 'easier' first week, will keep us under full focus, just like in every Tour start, but we'll tackle it with more confidence. What I really miss on this year's route is the TTT. It really favoured us on previous editions, as we could fight for the stage win and take a bit of a gap over our rivals. It's a shame we won't ride it this time.
"More than the Tour, this route reminds me of the Vuelta a España or even the Giro, with hard stages all over the three weeks of racing, but our form approach must remain the same: starting off in good condition and keeping or improving it over the course of the race. We have to take care about ourselves the best we can – overtraining and losing that bit of fitness at the end of the race would be a big mistake. Pressure? It won't be different to previous occassions: I always took on leading duties well during this years, in the 2014 Giro, the 2015 Tour… it won't be a problem. Fortunately, Alejandro got the Tour podium he really fought for, and having him out of that same pressure will be a boost for me and the whole team."
Alejandro Valverde: “I think it's a more open route than last year's, and undoubtedly beautiful and interesting. Stages seem to be longer -seven or eight of them above 200 kilometers-, which should make efforts harder at the end of the race, and mountains are distributed differently. The first part of the race will be as nervous as usual, though it will be a little bit less stressful as we don't have any cobblestones to tackle, and wind shouldn't be a huge problem except for stages one and two. The Pyrenees and Andorra climbs will bring some suffering before the first rest day, and together with the Mont Ventoux, I think they might set things really straight early into the race.
"However, with those two demanding TTs and the restless final week, it can really suit us the whole team and Nairo well. How I will face this Tour? Maybe not as focused as in previous seasons -though I haven't still spoken thoroughly about it with neither Eusebio nor Nairo, the plan is having him taking over the team leadership-. It might be different for me, maybe more focused on the Olympics. Still, I don't know if I'll ride the Vuelta a España, the Giro d'Italia, how my calendar will be… we must wait and decide it with the team in the upcoming weeks before defining our 2016 schedule.”
Eusebio Unzué: "It feels like a different Tour, away from more classic approaches we've seen during the last few years. It's great to get off a bit of stress we suffered with the pavé, which was hard for both favourites and the rest of the peloton. However, I'm still missing a team time trial – it's not that it suits us well, rather than being a spectacular effort which a three-week stagerace, which offers everyone a chance to excel, shouldn't leave out in my opinion.
"There's no TT prologue and the first week hasn't got such nervousness we usually tackle in the Tour: with the Massif Central on day five and the Pyrenees before the first rest day -those two big mountain days in Bagnères and from Viella to Andorra-, it all really changes. Week two seems to be reduced to 'only' Mont Ventoux and the first TT -both of them will be really decisive, with many of their 54km on uphill roads-, while the final one includes lots of mountains, a symbol of the whole race this year, finishing with a crucial stage with its end on the foot of the Joux Plane. There are many deceptive stages, not finishing with a climb, but set to be really spectacular.
"Our team? We're lucky to have someone like Nairo, one of those called to win this race, and we must support him with the best riders at our disposal. Logic says Alejandro should be in, too. It's still too early to talk about our approach to the race, though."