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Nairo Quintana's Tour de France challenge falls flat on first summit finish

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Nairo Quintana (Movistar) struggled with the high pace

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) struggled with the high pace
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Nairo Quintana tried to hide in the peloton

Nairo Quintana tried to hide in the peloton
(Image credit: Jonathan Devich/epicimages.us)
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Nairo Quintana (Movistar)

Nairo Quintana (Movistar)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Overall Winner Tom Dumoulin, runner-up Nairo Quintana and third-placed Vincenzo Nibali on the Giro d'Italia podium

Overall Winner Tom Dumoulin, runner-up Nairo Quintana and third-placed Vincenzo Nibali on the Giro d'Italia podium
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Before the Tour de France, Nairo Quintana said he and his Movistar team would have to "be more daring" in the race in light of there being but three summit stage finishes. On the first at La Planche des Belles Filles, there were no swashbuckling moves from the Colombian, however, as Quintana gave up another 14 seconds on new race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky).

Quintana was in the leading group with all of his main rivals when Astana's Fabio Aru attacked to take out the stage win. But when the chase ramped up led by Richie Porte (BMC), Quintana lost contact with the group.

"A tough first mountain stage, a very fast one from the start, a really hot one – and it ended up not being the best one for me," he admitted. "My goal was not losing time and at the end, when I couldn't follow the pace, the only thing I could do was give my best and concede as little time as possible."

Now at ninth overall, 54 seconds behind the defending champion, Quintana vowed to continue fighting.

"We must carry on and remain calm, see how we can race on the many mountains still to come. The Tour is still pretty much starting," Quintana said.

"We're still on day five, and I hope to keep improving from now on, since my body is still recovering its tone after the Giro. I knew Aru was coming to the Tour with strong form, and his attack in the finale wasn't a surprise – he launched it at the very same point Nibali did when he won here. I think he will be a winning candidate."

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