Quintana: The cobbles aren’t another world
Nairo Quintana has insisted that he is not worried by the prospect of riding on the cobbles at the Tour de France this year, explaining that he had already had some advice from his younger brother Dayer, who started Paris-Roubaix last season.
“He tells me that the key thing is your positioning in the group,” Quintana told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo. “The truth is that the issue does not bother me. Yes, it’s the first time I’ll ride the pavé but it’s not another world.”
Quintana was speaking at the Colombian national championships in Rionegro, where he was a faller in the final kilometre of the road race on Sunday. The Movistar man suffered a blow to his back and a scrape to his right elbow in the crash but has not reported any lasting consequences.
Quintana’s younger brother Dayer, meanwhile, was an aggressive presence throughout the race, spending more than 170 kilometres off the front as part of the day’s early break and later attacking on the finishing circuit.
The race was eventually won by Robinson Chalapud, formerly of the Colombia-Coldeportes team and now with Orgullo Antioqueño. Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-QuickStep) won the time trial title the previous day.
Kristoff left frustrated in Qatar sprint
Alexander Kristoff was left frustrated on stage one of the Tour of Qatar after he was boxed in during the sprint. The Katusha rider finished in 9th position with José Joaquin Rojas (Movistar) winning the stage at Sealine Beach Resort.
“I felt good actually and we had four guys in the front group but in the last kilometre we messed it up,” Kristoff told Cyclingnews at the start of stage two.
‘We did too much and then we were overtaken. That put us on the inside, and we couldn’t get out. I think a few teams felt like they had a lot left but couldn’t move.”
A number of other teams said that they were rusty, with the lead-out trains still finding their feet at the start of the season. When asked about the subject, Kristoff disagreed saying that he was simply boxed in and no more.
“I felt like I could sprint and that I had a lot to give but I just had nowhere to go. With 700 metres to go we had to make a move but when it was time to go we couldn’t get through.”
Pinot disappointed by Bessèges time trial
Although the time trialling miles are limited in this year’s Tour de France, Thibaut Pinot is mindful of his need to improve continuously in the discipline and he admitted that he was not quite satisfied with his display in the concluding test at Étoile de Bessèges on Sunday.
The Frenchman finished the 12 kilometre time trial – which included 3 kilometres of climbing – in 10th place, 33 seconds down on winner Bob Jungels (Trek Factory Racing), who also secured final overall victory in the process.
“I thought I’d be better, I’m a bit disappointed because it was an important little test,” Pinot told L’Équipe. “I was lacking power. I’m going to work on the time trial again.”
Pinot finished the race in 13th place overall and despite his disappointment at his result in the time trial, he could draw some positives from his performance in the frigid conditions over the preceding four days.
“This race is nervous, tiring and it’s cold. I don’t like that so much,” he said. “I used up quite a bit of juice just taking care to ride at the front. And from that point of view, the balance sheet is positive. I’ve progressed a lot in my positioning in the bunch.”