20 June 2016
In less than two weeks the Tour de France will start again. In the past few weeks we saw the candidates for the podium in Paris prepare themselves. Froome won the Criterium du Dauphiné, Contador showed his climbing skills there. Others, like van Garderen and Barguil, tested the legs in the Tour du Suisse. Yet one favorite was missing in both of these races. It was Nairo Quintana. Last week he came back to Europe. He spent several weeks at home in Colombia. He wasn’t sitting around doing nothing though, he trained on altitude. He made long days on his bike, with one thought on his mind: the Tour de France. It was a pity that we could not witness some heroic fights already with Froome in the Dauphiné. Quintana avoids his ‘enemies’ in the weeks before the biggest race of the year. He does not want to compete against them until it is really necessary. After all, why should the others know what he is already capable of?
Nairo Quintana started in La Route du Sud, a race in the south of France. An excellent test for his legs. He was one of the best in the mountain stages and showed that his time trial skills have improved. He won the overall classification. That must give him confidence for the upcoming Tour de France. Also, Alejandro Valverde has sworn that he will help Quintana in the Tour, rather than going for his own chances. That would be a big relief for Quintana, having to compete against the famous ‘train’ of Team Sky. Froome will enter the Tour de France with eight mountain riders. That is frightening, but the Movistar Team will also go to the Tour with some capable riders for the mountain stages. The riders that will have the privilege to join Quintana in the Tour, will move mountains for him if they have to. José Joaquín Rojas even said on Twitter that they were like a family. And we all know that to beat a family, you have to come from a long way.
© José Joaquín Rojas (@jjrojillas)