Nairo Quintana's name quickly came to mind when the mountainous route and limited time trials of the 2015 Tour de France were confirmed, and not surprisingly the Colombian climber liked the look of the route.
Quintana is expected to be the Movistar team leader at the Tour de France and has already confirmed that he will target overall victory after winning the Giro d'Italia this season and finishing second in the 2013 Tour de France. He studied the Tour de France route from his home in Colombian but a reaction via Twitter made it clear he liked it.
"Al inicio pavé, viento, carreteras aptas para sorpresas y emboscadas. Al final montaña y emoción. Me gusta!" he wrote, before sharing more of his thoughts via his Movistar team.
"On paper, it looks like a good route for me, it suits me well. Very few kilometers of time trials, plenty of mountains..." Quintana said in a press release.
"With so many mountain-top finishes, the route plays into my favour, and though I'm still to confirm my race schedule, I'll probably plan my training on coming at 100% and fight for the win."
Naturally Quintana is wary of stage four to Cambrai, when the seven sectors of cobbles on the roads of Flanders and northern France, will mean the final hour of the stage will be like a mini-Paris-Roubaix.
"It's a day where, just as we saw this season, we have to pay full attention. I mean, you won't probably win the Tour there, but you might lose it. You must keep that into account and stay much focused on it, because it's going to be long and the last two sections will be especially tricky and demanding," he explained.
Quintana has already studied the stage profiles. He also knows he can count on the support of teammate Alejandro Valverde and a strong Movistar team for the team time trial on stage nine.
"Those are really good climbs for me, plus the TTs are not long at all this year - I'm not afraid of the TTT, though, because we've already proven what we can do," he said.
"Of course, having the world's number one by my side makes me more calm and confident but it won't be just Alejandro but the whole team. I'm sure we will bring a strong squad to the start. This team always goes into a race to win it."
Valverde ready to ride for Quintana
After seeing the route, Valverde conceded that he will probably ride for Quintana in the Tour de France.
"As I've already stated many times before, I know what my place would be, and even more considering how well this route suits Nairo," he said.
"If I make it to the start, I think we can make a good duo, as we did in this year's Vuelta before he crashed. I think this Tour is really good for the team. We didn't talk yet about my calendar and we won't probably be doing it until the first training camp in mid November."
Team manager Eusebio Unzue is likely to build the Movistar Tour de France squad around Quintana and knows making it through the first half on the cobbles short climbs and possible echelons is an important first step to any possible overall victory.
"It's clearly a Tour for climbers. I don't remember a Tour route with such short TT's, only 14km plus a TTT which will become more important than before," Unzue predicted.
"For us, it's a really attractive Tour which, on the other hand, has a clear pre-race strategy: getting to Pau safe and sound. If we achieve it, it will be really interesting for us. This first week has the cobblestones, which we already saw last year, but in a smaller amount; then, some windy stages we'll have to pay attention to - as I said, it will be a matter of getting through those first days to come with a good chance to the Pyrenees and the Alps, where the 'second Tour' will start.
"Talking about Nairo, Alejandro or both starting the race is too premature at this point. We will have our first pre-season meeting in Pamplona in a few days, and that will be the moment to choose their calendar."
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