Nairo Quintana has confirmed that he will not return to the Tour de France in 2014, and will instead ride the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España. The 23-year-old finished second overall on his Tour debut in 2013, and also won the mountains classification, the white jersey and the final mountain stage to Semnoz.
“I’m preparing the season for the big objective, which is the Giro d’Italia,” Quintana told Colombian newspaper El Tiempo. “With my team, we’ve decided to ride it, before going to the Vuelta a España.”
Quintana put up the firmest resistance to Chris Froome’s dominance at last year’s Tour, attacking on the road to Ax-3 Domaines and Mont Ventoux, and dropping the Sky rider at Alpe d’Huez and Semnoz. However, Movistar have decided to send him to the Giro and Vuelta this season, and the veteran Alejandro Valverde will lead their yellow jersey challenge in July.
“Valverde will be the team and the Tour, and for now, I’ll focus on the Giro and Vuelta,” Quintana said. “We’ll leave the Tour for other years.”
Quintana begins his 2014 season at the Tour de San Luis, which gets underway on Monday. The race features three mountaintop finishes, at Mirador del Potrero, the Alto del Amago and Mirador del Sol, but Quintana said his priority in Argentina will be preparing for the season to come.
“It’s a race that you need to get used to being on the bike again,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to get into your rhythm for the rest of the season.”