Colombian from Movistar Team reflects on his feelings before the start of the 100th Giro de Italia, the first stop of his dual GT quest
Nairo Quintana starts the second half of his season this very Saturday at the Vuelta a Asturias, just before the Giro d'Italia kicks off from Sardinia next Friday. Quintana's 2017 has already took him to the highest step of the podium four times, "two overall victories, with a stage win in each, and all of my team-mates’ performances as well as mine have been satisfactory. We couldn’t have asked for more before the Grand Tours and we hope to continue with that streak in the Giro. The whole team is making history and the achievements we’ve got early this season will be hard to improve in the future for this group."
"I took things easier in the offseason, but the first part of the season really got me in good fitness from early. We’ve tried to just finetune that form with some quality work in Colombia, not too many because the road ahead, with both the Giro and the Tour, will be a long, tough one." It's a challenge he's massively excited about. "We had never taken such a gamble before, yet we feel we’re on the right path to success, training adequately to peak at both of them. I’m confident, since I’ve contested the win in two Grand Tours on the same year – I didn’t won both, but I’ve made the podium, come close or even won one of the two. Plus, it’s exciting to chase the win in the 100th edition, it makes it even more attractive. And I feel like I’ve improved my body resistance and become more mature through the last year. That’s why I think it’s time for me to go after it, since my physical conditions are still decent. Some other riders go for it at the end of their careers – I want to have a try now that I’m still young."
"This year's route is a very tough course, a demanding one. The last week has an impressive amount of mountains to overcome. Big gaps should be made there – I feel like this year’s course has sought for the strongest climber to win it. I went on a recce of some of the final week’s stages some months ago: I had a look at Piancavallo and Asiago, as well as the previous climb to Monte Grappa, who will be a hell of a climb, but also the Blockhaus and the Foligno TT."
For Quintana, there's one rival above the rest: "Nibali. This is ‘his’ race, he’s at home, it’s the 100th Giro. Surely he’ll reach the start in very good shape, and with his team racing it together for the first time, they’ll surely want to make their mark. The other main contenders have pretty much equal chances, and we shouldn’t rule out any one. Pinot is a strong climber, one who copes well with the toughest courses, a real fighter. Kruiswijk – well, everyone could see he’d have won the Giro if not for that bad crash. Landa has also come close to winning this race, and the course always suits him well because of the long, steady, tough climbs. The Yates brothers have also been close to podiums in the Tour and many other races. All of them have got more mature year by year, and that will make extremely difficult to beat them."