Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is confident in his ability to win the Tour de France in the coming years but says that he feels under no additional pressure since he finished second behind Chris Froome (Sky) in this year’s race.
The Colombian made a sparkling Tour debut in July, reaching Paris as the king of the mountains and best young rider, and dropping Froome to win on the final summit finish at Semnoz. Still only 23 years of age, Quintana is expected to offer an even more robust challenge to Froome in 2014.
“Yes, I see myself winning the Tour de France some day, I don’t see it far away. I don’t know if it will be in one year, in two or in three, but I have the capacity to do it,” Quintana told reporters in Madrid on Tuesday, according to the EFE news agency.
“I don’t think it affects me to be a contender for the Tour. I’m taking it calmly: it’s not something that stresses me. I have to work hard and try to meet the expectations, nothing more than that.”
Quintana was speaking at a press conference to announce that Movistar had extended its sponsorship of his team through to the end of the 2016 season, which was also attended by his teammate Alejandro Valverde and team manager Eusebio Unzue.
While Quintana told reporters, “I feel like the team leader,” he was careful to point out that he had no problem in helping the other captain, Valverde.
Valverde confirmed that he will again ride two Grand Tours in 2014. Although he will wait for the presentation of the Tour de France and Vuelta a España routes before finalising his programme, he admitted that he was intrigued by the Giro route.
“Why not do the Giro? It’s a good route for me,” Valverde said, according to Biciciclismo. “But we have to wait for the Tour [the route is presented on October 23 – ed.] and see. If it is very mountainous, it might be better for Quintana.”
Manager Eusebio Unzue said that the Tour de France was the team’s principal aim in 2014 and that it was still possible that both Quintana and Valverde would be on the start line in Leeds next summer.
“We want a great team at the Vuelta, and we know that the Giro route is interesting for both of them,” Unzue told EFE. “We imagine that the Tour won’t change much but when we know the route, we’ll decide on each of their schedules.”