While Nairo Quintana’s rivals are racing at the Criterium du Dauphine or the Tour de Suisse, the Columbian has been quietly preparing himself at high altitude as he looks to reign supreme come the Tour de France.
Last year Quintana finished second to the eventual winner Chris Froome; but this year the 26-year-old is confident that he can go one better and win the biggest of Grand Tours.
It’s been a good season for the Movistar rider so far this season; he won the Tour of Romandie and the Volta a Catalunya, and then finished on the podium of the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Tour de San Luis.
But this past month whilst the likes of Froome, Alberto Contador, Richie Porte, and Vincenzo Nibali have all been in action, Quintana has felt altitude training was the best way to go ahead of the Tour starting in a little over three weeks.
Quintana hails his preparation ahead of the Tour
All rider have their preferred method of preparation before what, is for many, the big race of the year; and after coming so close last summer, Quintana feels he is capable of going one step further this time.
"We have done a good preparation, I am healthy, and I'm emotionally very well with the family," said Movistar’s leader.
Despite not racing in the month prior to the Tour it might serve the 26-year-old well, as he will certainly be fresher than the other GC contenders.
Speaking about his choice in training at altitude, Quintana said: "So far everything is going well. I always say I'm a professional, I've trained one hundred percent to reach the big goal."
His performances at the spring races were good, so there are certainly indications that this summer he is going to be on the top of his game; something that Froome and company should be wary of.
As is the way in cycling, one man doesn’t win you a Grand Tour, but a team does. And behind Quintana he will be backed by a strong bunch of riders that will be tasked in keeping their leaders safe and out of trouble in the first week. And then when the race moves to the mountains it will be their task to dictate the race and set-up attacks for their leader.
Speaking about his teammates, Quintana said: “I am the same as last year, with more maturity and tranquility, knowing that I have a good team that will help me."