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Nairo Quintana to return to competition at Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge

Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) wins stage 3 of the 2020 Tour de la Provence at Chalet Reynard on Mont Ventoux
Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) wins stage 3 of the 2020 Tour de la Provence at Chalet Reynard on Mont Ventoux (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Arkéa-Samsic have announced that Nairo Quintana will resume his 2020 season at the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge one-day race on August 6. The Colombian is expected to return to Europe from South America next week on a specially chartered flight full of fellow Colombian elite sportspeople.

The Dénivelé Challenge is in its second year of existence, with Cofidis rider Jesús Herrada outclimbing AG2R's Romain Bardet to win the inaugural edition at the top of Mont Ventoux last season. This year, the race will tackle 'The Giant of Provence' twice along the 180km route: up to Chalet Reynard the first time, before looping back to tackle the entire climb and finish on its summit.

Herrada and Bardet are expected to return, while Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), Miguel Ángel López (Astana) and UAE Team Emirates' Fabio Aru are also all set to line up.

"With the two ascents of Mont Ventoux on the programme, all the ingredients are there for us to witness a magnificent fight in the grandest of settings," said race director Nicolas Garcera earlier this month, who can now add Quintana to his start list.

In February, the 30 year-old won the overall classification at the Tour de la Provence – and in fact won the stage to Chalet Reynard on the Ventoux – and then repeated the feat of a stage victory and the overall win at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var later that month, ahead of winning the final stage of Paris-Nice in March.

Quintana will share his flight back to Europe with compatriot and defending Tour de France champion Egan Bernal (Team Ineos). All travellers will have to have passed a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test for the coronavirus before they leave on the special charter flight from Colombian capital Bogota on Sunday afternoon, which arrives in Madrid, Spain, on Monday, where they will apparently not be required to undergo quarantine.

At the end of May, Quintana announced that his build-up to the Tour de France (August 29-September 20) would include the Tour de l'Ain – which runs from August 7-9, starting the day after the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge – and the Critérium du Dauphiné (Aug 12-16).

He's also had to recover from a training accident that occurred close to his home in Colombia two weeks ago, when he was hit by a car. Quintana escaped without serious injury – although he did hurt his knee – and was able to resume training a little over a week later.