Following Tour de France winner Chris Froome’s abandon of the Vuelta a España with an injured foot, question marks persist whether the Tour’s runner-up, Nairo Quintana (Movistar), has recovered enough from his recent illness to continue in the race, too.
Cyclingnews spoke to Movistar team doctor Jesus Hoyos on the morning of stage 13 and he was uncertain whether the Colombian could continue. Quintana had got over his severely upset stomach and fever, Hoyos said. However, the question was now whether the Colombian could turn the tables quickly enough in the middle of a Grand Tour to return to the top condition he needs to keep in contention, particularly with a very hilly stage 13 on Friday and three major mountain stages starting on Saturday.
“He seems to be getting a little bit better, he’s eating and drinking normally again and he’s not got that upset stomach any more, the fever’s down, too,” Hoyos said.
“But his body’s empty, two days like that take it out of anybody. So we’ll just have to see how he gets through the day.”
Quintana was reported to have been in difficulties early on stage 13 on Friday - which runs very close to the area where he crashed in last year’s Vuelta time trial - and was dropped but returned to the bunch. He is currently lying ninth overall.
Movistar co-leader Alejandro Valverde is apparently improving after suffering a shoulder injury in his crash on Sunday’s stage to Cumbre del Sol. “He’s still not able to move his arm fully, but there’s nothing stopping him riding a bike. He’s fine and yesterday felt a lot better," said Hoyos of the Spaniard.
“Alejandro’s on the mend, Nairo - today will tell us a lot more. It’s a very tough day. If he’s recovered great and then he’ll be better, but if not, then it’s possible he could abandon. A body has its limits.”
On the plus side for Movistar, Imanol Erviti’s wife has given birth to a child, a boy, last night, and all went well. Living close by in Navarre, Erviti will go to see his wife after the stage, and then will continue the race.