Nairo Quintana's successful 2017 season continued at the Vuelta Asturias with the Movistar rider winning the queen stage to confirm his form and condition ahead of the 100th Giro d'Italia. The 2014 Giro winner won the snowy stage to Alto del Acebo ahead of Raul Alacron (W52/FC Porto) and sits second overall with one stage to come.
The UCI 2.1 Spanish stage race is Quintana's first race on European soil since a training block at home in Colombia and final preparation event for the Giro, starting Saturday in Sardinia. Quintana is aiming for a Giro/Tour de France double and already in 2017 has enjoyed general classification wins at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and Tirreno-Adriatico. The 27-year-old explained that his sensations from the stage win have boosted his confidence and will aim to claim the overall Monday.
"I'm really satisfied with how things went, with my preparations and this victory, too. I felt my legs responding well to all that we did before coming back to Europe - we're on the right path to tackle that big challenge in front of us successfully," Quintana explained. "For me, coming to Asturias has already been satisfactory. Let's hope we can finish things off tomorrow in one piece. It was a really cold day, also a dangerous one since we had to go through all those wet descents. We all really suffered, it was tough - yet we're sort of getting used to these days. It's been quite a few times now where we had to finish on top of a mountain covered in snow, after getting through foul conditions."
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Quintana, who has built a reputation as a rider for the cold and snow, added that his brother Dayer played an important role on the slopes of the climb.
"I just followed the wheels into the first part of the climb, well supported by my team, and when the real selection got formed, I sent Dayer forward to try and tear things apart a little bit more," he added. "Once the group was all the strung out I wanted, I went on my own pace, took Alarcón on my wheel and sought for the stage win.
Despite the lack of Giro rivals at the race, Movistar are the only WorldTour team at the race, Quintana explained his bid for a third Grand Tour title of his career is on track.
I feel ready for what's to come - let's just hope the level I reached here is enough to do well in the beginning of the Giro," he said.
Movistar is yet to confirm its team for the 100th Giro d'Italia although Andrey Amador, Alex Dowsett, Winner Anacona, Gorka Izagirre and Dayer Quintana are expected to be named in support of Nairo Quintana.
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