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Nairo Quintana: “I still hope to have a brilliant day in this race”

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Nairo Quintana

Nairo Quintana (8th overall at TDF GC at first rest day) hopes to recover after lack of energy brings him setbacks early in the race; has no regrets about tackling GC in both Giro and Tour de France.

“So far it’s been more about will than might. We’re still up for the fight, though, and we’ll try to keep improving. We have lost some time until yesterday, and to be honest, it was only due to lack of energy. However, there’s still a long way to go in this Tour, and we’re so determined to do great things in what’s to come. I’m not going through my best moment as a pro, that’s obvious, but I still hope to go through some ‘brilliant’ days in the remainder of the race.

“It’s true that I’ve got many racing days on my shoulders, considering I completed the Giro. I don’t know if I’ll get better during the next two weeks or not. But I’m really hopeful about finding my best legs, even for one day, and I can just hope it’s in an important stage.

“It might look as through Froome is doing slightly worse than in previous years, and many riders are quite close to each other. That’s why I don’t consider it’s a big gap already for me behing them. If I find that great day, anything can still happen.”

Sunday’s stage

“I felt good yesterday and I continue to do so today, but it’s evident that I’m not finding the same watts on my legs as I expected to do before the race. We all were convinced about my chances to shine right from the start, but at the end, it’s only about the ‘here’ and ‘now’, and I didn’t respond well.

“I also felt scared at the descents yesterday. Fortunately, I could get through what could have been one of the worst crashes in my career. When Majka fell, I was right behind him, and I didn’t have any time to avoid him. I barely managed – I don’t know how – to jump over him and prevent myself from crashing. I don’t know what could have happened for me, because we were racing at 70kph. When I went to sleep in the night and started reflecting on the day’s events, I realized that, only by the fact that I got through that accident, I had to be really happy about my result.”

Giro-Tour double

“I’m not regretful at all about having ridden the Giro. It was a gamble, something different. We still have a lot to learn in cycling, and we will draw many positive and negative conclusions about these months in order to improve in the future.

“It’s true that I have ridden all of the last four Grand Tours, but I also enjoyed some good breaks, had a winter between them, stayed weeks away from competition between all of them – there’s of course many things we can improve, though. It’s the first time we ride both the Giro and the Tour in the same season – the Giro was really hard and the pace here at the Tour hasn’t been slow, either.”

Valverde’s absence

“It’s evident that we are really missing Alejandro. He’s left a big void inside this team. We have really lacked help like his at many points of the race, also from a strategical point of view. His absence forces everyone to work even harder to make up for it.”