Trying to prove yourself is a difficult enough prospect without your older brother being Nairo Quintana. However, Dayer Quintana (Movistar) proved that he is a talent in his own right by hanging with his elder brother and Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez on the summit finish of filo Sierra de Comechingones to take, possibly, the most important leader’s jersey of the Tour de San Luis.
Quintana had missed out on the leader’s jersey at the first summit finish to Cerro El Amago by the slimmest of margins. He now takes a 20-second lead over Eduardo Sepulveda into the final day and, all things going well, he should be crowned the overall victor.
“I felt much happier than yesterday to be the virtual leader, it is a great moral boost. I will go into tomorrow’s stage calm and relaxed and we will expect to get a good result,” said Dayer Quintana, who not only looks very similar to his elder brother but sounds uncannily like him too.
Quintana had put himself into contention for victory on Thursday after a late attack that had been intended to set up his brother saw him take fourth on move into second overall. With Nairo also caught up in the big crash at the end of stage 5 – an incident that put his teammate Adriano Malori into hospital - the team were now looking to him to produce the result. However, he had a wealth of experience to draw on to help him do it.
“The responsibility was on me because Nairo was hurt and injured from yesterday,” said Dayer Quintana. “I spoke to Nairo and I also spoke to Dani Moreno because he knows Cordoba and this race, he has lived here for three years. I spoke to him a lot and he gave me good advice such as like how to protect yourself from the wind, about being alert about the weather and the strategy was not to attack at the bottom but closer to the finish."
Quintana has big footprints to follow with his big brother already a Grand Tour winner and widely seen as a future Tour de France champion. The 23-year-old turned professional in 2014 and his biggest victory to date had been a stage of the Tour of Austria. Rather than being a burden, Quintana says that having such a successful brother is a driving force for him.
“More than taking a load off me it is a realisation for me,” explained Quintana. “Being the brother of Nairo isn’t a load but it gives me a goal and maybe I can be like him and achieve what he has done. I think that I need to go step by step. When you pass through the finish what goes through your mind is all the sacrifices that you’ve done but then you feel really good about the victory.”