Nairo Quintana ramps up Giro d'Italia preparation with Tirreno-Adriatico

Nairo Quintana will continue the build-up to his bid for the Giro d'Italia-Tour de France double with Tirreno-Adriatico this week. The Colombian’s Movistar team has named a well-rounded team to support him in his quest, including Daniel Moreno, Jonathan Castroviejo, and Daniele Bennati.

Quintana is a former winner at Tirreno-Adriatico, claiming the overall title in 2015 ahead of Bauke Mollema. He lost ground in the final time trial but the time he made on the summit finish of the Terminillo was enough to keep him ahead of the Dutchman in the overall standings.

This season, Quintana is aiming for the Giro-Tour double, a feat that hasn't been achieved since Marco Pantani in 1998. He has had a solid start to the season, which began at the Mallorca Challenge at the end of January, and won a stage and the overall at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. After competing at the Abu Dhabi Tour, Quintana returned to ride to 23rd at the GP Industria & Artigianato on Sunday.

The 2017 Tirreno-Adriatico follows a similar format to the one that Quintana triumphed on back in 2015. Then, the team time trial opener in Lido di Camaiore had to be swapped for a shorter individual effort after storms caused damage to areas around the route. This time around the organisers will be hoping that fortune is looking down on them with the 22.7km TTT planned for Wednesday. Castroviejo, Alex Dowsett and Nelson Oliveira will be key in ensuring Quintana is well placed in the general classification ahead of the mountain stages.

The Terminillo is back again for this year, too. Two years ago, Quintana showed a dogged determination to hold off a class line-up of riders in the snow, including Bauke Mollema, Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez and a struggling Vincenzo Nibali. There will be no Contador, who is racing at Paris-Nice, but Quintana will face some stiff competition from the likes of Nibali, Fabio Aru, Thibaut Pinot and more, most of whom he'll face at the Giro d'Italia in two months' time.

Andrey Amador will be there for Quintana in the mountains, as will Moreno, while Castroviejo and Oliveira are likely to play a role there, too. Bennati, Dowsett and Classics rider Jasha Sütterlin provide some firepower on the flatter roads.

Movistar for Tirreno-Adriatico: Nairo Quintana, Andrey Amador, Jonathan Castroviejo, Jasha Sütterlin, Alex Dowsett, Nelson Oliveira, Daniele Bennati and Dani Moreno.

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