Quintana to face Contador and Froome at Ruta del Sol

Nairo Quintana has announced his racing programme for the first part of 2015 and the Movistar rider is set for an early clash with fellow Tour de France contenders Chris Froome and Alberto Contador at the Ruta del Sol.

Quintana will begin his campaign at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina from January 19-25, as previously announced, before heading to Andalusia for the Ruta del Sol from February 18-22, where Froome and Contador both open their seasons. He will then line up at Tirreno-Adriatico (March 11-17), before riding the Tour of the Basque Country (April 6-11) and at least some of the Ardennes Classics.

Ahead of his Tour de France debut in 2013, Quintana did not race at all between April and the Grand Départ, but this time around he may return from a stint at home in Colombia in time to tackle the Tour de Suisse beforehand.

“It’s a well-planned schedule, thinking about the Tour,” Quintana told El Tiempo. “This is the first part of the season. The second part will be scheduled depending on what happens in France.”

In particular, Quintana explained, his presence at the Vuelta a España is entirely contingent on how he fares in July at the Tour. “We don’t know if I’ll go. We’ve already spoken about it but it depends on what happens at the Tour.”

Quintana finished second overall in his lone Tour appearance to date in 2013, and he is confident that he can go one step further in 2015, despite the presence of Contador, Nibali and Froome, none of whom were in the field at his victorious Giro d’Italia this year.

“We’ve seen that I can. I’ve been second in the Tour and I’ve won the Giro in the past two years. That means I can go for the podium,” he said. “I’ve been close to winning other races and that tells me that I can opt to fight for the title at the Tour.”

Currently training in Tunja, Colombia, Quintana will travel to Madrid for the Movistar team presentation on January 9 before returning to South America for the Tour de San Luis and the start of his 2015 season.

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