Quintana tar­gets Tour de France a er fi­nally break­ing Froome

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

AF­TER five Grand Tours and much Tour de France heartache, Nairo Quintana fi­nally looked down on Chris Froome from the top of the podium in Madrid on Septem­ber 10, hav­ing claimed his first Vuelta a Es­pana.

Quintana’s win was his sec­ond Grand Tour ti­tle fol­low­ing the Giro d’Italia in 2014, but his ul­ti­mate dream of be­com­ing the first South Amer­i­can to win the Tour de France has been de­nied by Froome.

Three times Quintana has made the podium of La Grande Boucle, in the three years when Froome has kept the yel­low jer­sey to him­self in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

“It is a dream I have that con­tin­ues in my mind and I hope one day will come true,” said Quintana of his Tour de France am­bi­tions.

For now he has the sat­is­fac­tion of fi­nally get­ting one over on Froome and the con­fi­dence that will bring for a fas­ci­nat­ing show­down be­tween the two at the Tour in 2017.

“It sig­ni­fies the growth of Nairo Quintana and the abil­ity to com­pete with the best rid­ers in the world,” added the Colom­bian.

Froome’s re­spect was also won as Quintana got the bet­ter of their per­sonal duel in a gru­elling three-week slog that in­cluded 10 sum­mit fin­ishes in sear­ing Span­ish sum­mer heat.

The Brit ap­plauded as Quintana crossed the line on the penul­ti­mate stage two sec­onds ahead of him on Septem­ber 10 to ex­tend his over­all ad­van­tage to 1 minute, 23 sec­onds.

“He is the great­est ri­val there is at the mo­ment,” con­tin­ued Quintana. “He made me suf­fer at the Tour and here I have won.”

Froome is likely to be stronger come the Tour next year, not least be­cause he will have a far bet­ter Sky team around him than the one that ac­com­pa­nied him in Spain.

Quintana’s de­ci­sive early at­tack on stage 15 left Froome iso­lated with­out a sin­gle team­mate for com­pany for most of the day in which he lost 2min 37secs.

Yet, Quintana’s ris­ing star, backed by one of the few teams that can com­pete with Sky when it comes to re­sources in Mo­vis­tar, could be hard to stop.

Quintana’s pen­chant for the moun­tains was de­vel­oped by cy­cling 16 kilo­me­tres (10 miles) a day to and from school, and to help sell fruit and veg­eta­bles in lo­cal vil­lages to keep his fam­ily afloat.

His Giro and Vuelta wins mean Quintana can be­come just the sev­enth rider in his­tory to win all three Grand Tours if he suc­ceeds in his Tour de France dream.

“Nairo, de­spite his airs and graces and ap­par­ent calm, is a unique preda­tor,” said Mo­vis­tar team di­rec­tor Euse­bio Unzue

“He has a scary win­ning men­tal­ity. When he sets a goal he doesn’t doubt or stop.” –

Photo: AFP

Colom­bian cy­clist Nairo Quintana (left) rides dur­ing the last stage of the 71st Tour of Spain, a 105-kilo­me­tre route from Las Rozas to Madrid, on Septem­ber 11.

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