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Unzué: Quintana is spectacular

Cycling News
January 14, 13:49,
January 14, 13:33
First Edition Cycling News, Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Giro d'Italia
Nairo Quintana (Movistar) throws his arms in the air after winning stage 20

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) throws his arms in the air after winning stage 20

  • Nairo Quintana (Movistar) throws his arms in the air after winning stage 20
  • Nairo Quintana with his award
  • Alejandro Valverde and Nairo Quintana show off the 2014 Movistar jersey made by Endura
  • Nairo Quintana tackles the Muro di Surmano at Il Lombardia

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Says Colombian's performances are more than he'd hoped for

Movistar team manager, Eusebio Unzué believes that Colombian sensation Nairo Quintana is racing ahead of any predictions made earlier in his career.

“With him, everything is accelerated,” Unzué told Spanish newspaper Diario Vasco. “He won the Tour de l’Avenir, the amateur Colombian time trial championships, then a stage of the Dauphiné, with the whole Sky team behind.”

Quintana has been one of Movistar’s big success stories. The 23-year-old Colombian joined Movistar in 2012 and almost immediately went on to win the Vuelta a Murcia. He now has three more general classification victories to his name and second place, and stage victory, the white jersey, and the king of the mountains jersey at the Tour de France.

“He is premature doing these things. At 23 he is doing spectacular things. Clearly he is of high quality. Nairo is privileged physically and he has a head equally as privileged.”

This season sees the Colombian switch his focus to the Giro d’Italia. The abundance of climbing and a mountain time trial will play into his hands. It will be his first appearance in the Italian grand tour but Quintana will be one of the favourites when the race begins in Belfast. Quintana begins his season at the Tour de San Luis next Monday, where he test his form against Joaquim Rodríguez and Vincenzo Nibali.

A repeat success

Quintana’s performances in 2013 helped to secure the Spanish team the number one spot in the WorldTour rankings. Unzué isn’t counting out a repeat performance in 2014.

"A repeat of 2013 will be difficult because it was very good, but not impossible,” he told Diario Vasco.

The Spanish team took hold of the lead in the UCI’s ranking at the final WorldTour race of the year, the Tour of Beijing, after Beñat Intxausti raced away to win the general classification. While Sky won at some of the biggest races of the year, it was Movistar’s consistency throughout the whole season that put them in top spot.

“It wasn’t a goal, but it was a prize for regularity. We played with the different riders that we had to be competitive,” explained Unzué. While he wouldn’t be drawn on whether this was the best squad in the team’s 34-year history, he did concede that it was the most all-round group of riders.

“In the 90s, the team wasn’t exactly lacking, with Perico Delgado, Julian Gorospe, Miguel Indurain, Bernard Jean François and Alonso Martin.” Who, between them, won over 200 races for the team.

Unzué continued by saying, “It is possible that the Movistar team now is more versatile, with riders of very different profiles and with cyclists who can win more things.”

Quintana and Valverde will lead the grand tour challenges at the Giro and the Tour, bolstered by the arrival of Igor Antón Jon Izagirre from Euskaltel. The loss of Rui Costa to Lampre-Merida will affect the team, but Unzué remains confident that they can continue the year-round success.

ownmindruler 8 months ago
I wold like to see him in the TDF instead...
chiocciolis_calves 8 months ago
I disagree.
PCM Geek 8 months ago
Too much TTing in the Tour. The TDF is more suited to Froome. He will do better in the Giro...
BackSeatRider 8 months ago
I would love to see Quintana in the TDF because it would shake things up, but he has a better shot at winning the Giro.
TheBean 8 months ago
Not this year, but maybe in a couple of years he can be a true TdF contender rather than a mountain stage animator. I'm excited to see how he does in Italy with the full support of his team. Should be a great race.
Gustavo Medina 8 months ago
how is he not a true TdF contender? He came in 2nd! Isn't that prove enough? Yes, I know he needs to improve his TTing, but also, think about Quintana with support from Movistar from day 1 in a TdF...that would send down shivers in any other "true" contenders, specially in the mountains.
wirral 8 months ago
Quintana is lucky Wiggins is not targetting the Giro this season.
lastplacerider 8 months ago
Wiggins?? Not sure Wiggins can do anything but a TT if 2013 is any indication. Did I miss something or has Wiggins found his form from 2012?
kevinzamora 8 months ago
Not even with his 2012 form would he be able to TT back the massive amounts of times Nairo would put on him at the Giro's every mountain finish...
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Mullach 8 months ago
i guess irony is lost on some!
chiocciolis_calves 8 months ago
In that Quintana might have the misfortune of getting caught behind a weaving, barely upright Sir Bradley on one of the descents?
Cance > TheRest 8 months ago
I seriously burst out in laughter when I saw your comment lol. What have you been doing the last 1½ year?????????
TheFred 8 months ago
Is it possible he was being humorous with sarcasm?
deemfingtee 8 months ago
Don't listen to wirral. He lives under a bridge.
Ryo Hazuki 8 months ago
nowhere has quintana said he will do the giro yet, nor has unzue.
ellenbrook2001 8 months ago
WIGGINS are you pulling my leg?
pablomedellin 8 months ago
As a colombian and a big fan of cycling, i'm ecited to see the progress of Nairo. He will achieve great things as his head is even stronger than hs body. This is trully a one of a kind rider to see in the years to come.
Niels Johan Thissen 8 months ago
Great rider already, coming from a country with great cycling history...Herrera, Parra....those were the days!