Nairo Quintana has said that he does not envisage any problems in sharing leadership duties of the Movistar team with Alejandro Valverde at the Vuelta a España. Valverde is currently in action at the Tour de France, a race Quintana skipped after landing victory at the Giro d’Italia in June.
“The outcome of the Tour doesn’t affect anything. Alejandro is going very well and could possibly be on the podium of the Tour if nothing extraordinary happens,” Quintana said in a press conference in Bogota on Monday, according to Biciciclismo.
“We’ll go with two leaders to this Vuelta, which is so important for the team. We’ll work together, and I think the stronger rider at the time will have the support of the other. I don’t think it matters that he is a Spaniard at the Vuelta a España because the team has made it clear that we’re working for Movistar Team, and not for a Colombian or a Spaniard. Depending on how the race goes, we’ll see who is stronger and who takes the lead.”
Quintana is the grand absentee from this year’s Tour after taking second overall, the king of the mountains title and a mountaintop stage win at the 2013 edition of the race. His Movistar team opted to send the veteran Valverde to the Tour as outright leader this time around, while Quintana has eyes on capturing a Giro-Vuelta double before returning to La Grande Boucle in 2015.
“I want to do a very good Vuelta,” Quintana said. “I don’t know if I’ll win but I’m very motivated and I want to put in a good showing. The idea is to win.”
The last rider to win the Giro and Vuelta in the same year was Alberto Contador in 2008 and the 24-year-old Quintana is tackling two grand tours in the same season for the first time in his career. His lone Vuelta to date was his 36th place finish in 2012, when he rode for Valverde in what was his grand tour debut.
“It’s a challenge to win two grand tours in the same year and few have managed it, but I don’t see it as impossible,” Quintana said.
The Colombian admitted that he was missing the Tour de France but insisted that he was happy with his racing programme for 2014. “The route of the Tour this year is interesting, I would have liked to have been there,” Quintana admitted. “Unfortunately I’m not there, but this year we’ve taken this decision [to ride the Giro] and it hasn’t gone badly.”
Quintana has not raced since the conclusion of the Giro in Trieste on June 1 and will only return to action in Europe at the Vuelta a Burgos on August 13, his sole preparation race before the Vuelta a España, which gets underway on August 23.