Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has revealed that he will ride the Tour de France in 2019, though the remainder of his programme and the make-up of the Movistar team that will accompany him is still to be decided.
The Colombian has endured a disappointing 2018 season, placing eighth overall at the Vuelta a España and 10th at the Tour, where he claimed stage victory atop the Col du Portet but his already faint podium hopes were furthered tempered by a crash the following day.
“I’ll certainly be at the Tour de France [in 2019],” Quintana told Marca after completing the Vuelta on Sunday. “We’ll have to see how and with whom, that will be decided at the end of the season.”
In 2018, Movistar deployed all three of its Grand Tour leaders at the Tour, with Quintana joined in the line-up by Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa. The trio of galacticos failed to make a telling impact in the face of Team Sky’s dominance, however, with Landa placing seventh in Paris and Valverde taking 14th overall.
Movistar’s best result in a Grand Tour in 2018 was ultimately provided by Richard Carapaz at the Giro d’Italia. The Ecuadorian underlined his potential by placing fourth overall in Rome and winning a stage at Montevergine di Mercogliano.
In an interview with Spanish radio station Onda Cero this weekend, Valverde said that would skip the Tour and instead ride the Giro and Vuelta in 2019. He placed third overall on his lone Giro appearance in 2017. Landa, absent from the Vuelta due to injury, confirmed last week that he will remain at Movistar in 2019 despite interest from Astana.
Valverde was Movistar’s best performer at this Vuelta, and he was in contention for overall victory until the race reached its denouement in Andorra before eventually dropping to fifth place overall.
Despite Valverde’s brace of stage wins, Quintana classed Movistar’s Vuelta as a disappointment. The Colombian began the final week within touching distance of red jersey Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), but he faded from contention on Monte Oiz on Wednesday and then fell short in his bid to win a stage in Andorra.
“It’s a sad day. We haven’t fulfilled our objectives. Valverde didn’t get on the podium and I didn’t win a stage,” Quintana told Marca on the Vuelta's final day. “We’ll take time to think and look at where we failed. We’ll have to assess things, but we’ll do it calmly. We have to work to be at the top level again.”
Quintana will be part of a strong Colombian team for the elite men’s road race at the Innsbruck World Championships. Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez – third overall at the Vuelta – and Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac) will also be in the team, and Quintana was coy about the hierarchy of the squad.
“It will be decided at the time, depending on who is up there,” Quintana said. “But we have to take advantage of this great Colombian team that we have and go to win.”
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