Arkéa-Samsic's Nairo Quintana says that he believes the two individual time trials on the 2021 Tour de France route – unveiled by race director Christian Prudhomme in Paris on Sunday evening – could prove to be decisive, and that he'd be working hard on improving his ability against the clock as a result.
"We'll have to be as well prepared as we can be for those two TT stages," Quintana told Le Télégramme. "Those stages [5 and 20] are going to be as important for the general classification as the ones in the mountains."
The 30-year-old picked out stage 11, with its double ascension of Mont Ventoux, as likely one of the most important of next year's stages in the mountains.
"It's a climb I love, and one on which I've of course had some success," Quintana said. "No doubt that it will play a major role in shaping next year's Tour, as will the other summit finishes in the Alps and the Pyrenees."
Quintana won stage 3 of this year's Tour de la Provence, which finished at Le Chalet-Renard – two-thirds of the way up the Ventoux, where the climb from Sault joins up with the climb from Bédoin. Next year, the Tour de France will climb the Ventoux twice on both of those routes on the eleventh stage before continuing over the summit for the descent to the stage finish in Malaucène.
"I hope to go into next year's Tour in top condition – at 100 per cent, all being well – with a strong Arkéa-Samsic team around me," he added.
Quintana is currently recovering from surgery on the cartilage of both of his knees, after falling on his right knee when he was hit by a car in training ahead of this year's Tour and then damaging his left knee in a crash during the race.
"I'm currently working hard with the physiotherapists in preparation for the 2021 season," said Quintana. "My objective at next year's Tour will remain the general classification, with the ambition of finishing on the podium – even though I know that it's getting more and more difficult due to the level of competition.
"But next year provides a new opportunity for me, and 2021 should hopefully be a better season for me, physically, and one in which I'll try to achieve my goal," he said.
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