Tour de France (rest day one)
Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa (Movistar Team) reflect at their hotel near Albi on the first half of the 2019 TDF + the crucial TT / mountain efforts coming up in the Pyrenees.
“I’d say we’re almost lucky to reach this far in the Tour having lost arguably the smallest margen in the last few years against our biggest rivals. I feel like we’ve got a decent chance. It won’t be easy, yet we’re in good condition and we’ll try to play our cards intelligently to make up time, and at the time trial, do our best to lose as little time as possible. I think I’m well prepared for the TT, I’m ready to go into it. My body feels right at the moment. We know we will be losing time, since I’m not a specialist compared to the others. I’ll concede some time, and I just hope it won’t be too much.”
“We’re still eleven stages away from Paris, there’s so much left in this race. There are mountain stages which could suit us really well. The work by our team-mates throughout this race has been really, really good, most especially yesterday, when we were all at the front before Mikel’s crash. The team is in good condition, and after the TT we will seek for a strategy to try and get back to the top. There are mountains which suit us well and, together with Alejandro, who is always there supporting us, and Mikel, I think we can do well together and achieve our goal for this race.”
“With all due to respect to Alaphilippe as race leader – we don’t really know how far he will reach in yellow – the team carrying all responsibility at this moment is INEOS, and we must plan our strategies considering how they will race and tackle the mountain stages. They had two cards to play and they still keep Thomas and Egan in a perfect position.”
“I felt in a little bit more of pain when I woke up today, but fortunately it’s nothing serious: a blow to my arm, another one to my face, and nothing else. I’m a bit more down when it comes to morale: it’s another tough blow, and another year when we have to bounce back after misfortune. There’s still a long race ahead, and we must think only about that. I obviously started thinking about yesterday’s crash after the stage: why me? Why was it me crashing? I was feeling so strong, the stage had gone so well for us up until that moment, it would actually have been a good chance to close in on our goal in the TDF – and you crash once again. However, the past is water long under the bridge, we mustn’t lose time thinking about it again.”
“We’ll have to chase for a stage win and get back into GC contention as soon as possible. We’ll see how we can react – I haven’t still digested what happened yesterday, I need some more time to get back into the mood. I haven’t found how to get myself into the race again yet. I need to go through these two ‘bad’ days, have others let me alone (laughs), and we will turn things around and change our luck for the better.”
“There are still many contenders left in this race. Those currently trailing, such as Fuglsang and Pinot, who are strong attackers, will surely try to go from afar and will play a significant role in the upcoming mountain stages. Hopefully, with this time lost I will have a chance to attack and be let go further than others. However, the Tour is always hard in that respect: the teams defend basically any position, and as soon as you approach 10th place, you get teams interested in retaining such a position, so it’s hard to bounce back.”