Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has returned to Spain from his home in Colombia as he prepares to kick off his 2015 European campaign at next week's Tirreno-Adriatico.
The 2014 Giro d'Italia winner celebrated his 25th birthday at home on February 5 and clocked up some serious training rides with his brother Dayer and several fellow Colombian riders. Movistar teammate Winner Anacona posted a photo of Quintana to Twitter, suggesting the Colombians had clocked up 222km and 3715m of climbing during a 7:40 ride.
Quintana missed an expected clash with Grand Tour rivals Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) at the recent Ruta del Sol, preferring to train after crashing in the sprint that decided the Colombian national road race championships. He finished third overall in his season debut at the Tour de San Luis, despite not having raced since crashing out of the Vuelta a España.
Quintana reportedly returned to his base in Pamplona in northern Spain before attending a meeting between Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in Madrid. Quintana will not ride the Strade Bianche race on Saturday but will head to Tuscany at the start of next week for Tirreno-Adriatico, which begins with a team time trial on Wednesday.
According to Biciciclismo, Quintana has added the Tour de Romandie to his spring race programme due to missing the Ruta del Sol. After Tirreno-Adriatico he will also tackle Dwars door Vlaanderen (March 25) and E3 Prijs Harelbeke (March 27) to get a taste of the narrow roads and cobbles he will face in the Tour de France. The Tour of the Basque Country (6-11 April) will be another major goal of the spring before heading to Belgium for La Flèche Wallonne (April 22) and then to Switzerland for the Tour de Romandie (April 28-May 3). It is unclear if he will ride Liège-Bastogne-Liège (April 26).
Quintana has already confirmed that he will not return to the Giro d'Italia but will instead focus on the Tour de France.