Nairo Quintana ready to win Tour de France

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) wants to become Colombia’s first yellow jersey, and to achieve that he needs to get past two-time winner Chris Froome (Sky).

“Froome’s attacks [in 2015] were very strong, and no one could follow them,” Quintana said at a press conference. “We hope we can withstand the rhythm of the attacks. I’ve prepared well, and I’ve made some training to do these changes of rhythm, and wait until the heart-rate hits 200.”

Quintana will return to Europe later this week to race the Route du Sud before Tour de France, the big goal of the season.

“We have done a good preparation, I am healthy, and I’m emotionally very well with the family. So far everything is going well. I always say I’m a professional, I’ve trained one hundred percent to reach the big goal, and then I leave everything in God’s hands.”, said the Colombian rider.

“This year I rested well, trained well and the spring races were better than last year, I won two and in the other I was third. My level was higher and I think that I am maturing more every year. I am the same as last year, with more maturity and tranquility, knowing that I have a good team that will help me.”

“The last races we’ve done ended a month ago, and we are also facing a tough race in the Tour. I’ve done the race several times – I won once (2012) and last year I was second (behind Alberto Contador). It has enough French mountain roads, and is good enough to finish the preparation. After the Route du Sud, it is eat, sleep and train and wait for the Tour”.

On targeting Tour: “Of course, I’m going for the Tour. I’ve prepared well, and I want to win, and want to share this joy with all Colombians. That’s why I am asking people to share my “yellow jersey dream” (sueño amarillo) and support me. Winning the Tour has always been my dream. When I used to ride with my friends, they laughed at me when I said my dream was to win the Tour one day. And here I am, always improving, and thanks to the support I receive from Movistar, because without them, we wouldn’t be the artists in this big circus’.”

“I think Dani Moreno will be key to help me in the final week. Valverde was at a very high level at the Giro, and he wants to focus on the Olympics, and will come to the Tour to help me completely, and he’s another card to play in the final week. It’s a shame about Malori’s crash in Argentina, and he’s still recovering. We haven’t had good luck with the falls and crashes this year, but we still have a good team.”

“I’ve seen almost all the climbs, either on bike or by car, and I like them. They’re long, including even longer than some of the climbs in the Colombia, and I think they’re good for me. I’m excited about returning to Mont Ventoux. When I escaped in 2013, I was nearly dead and couldn’t breath at the finish, because I attacked from far away. So this year, I will make a similar attack to see how my rivals respond. There are hard stages that I really like, such as Mont Ventoux, Emosson, of high mountains, and something special for me is Morzine, where I won a stage in the 2012 Dauphiné.”

“The time trials will be very important for the GC. Maybe last year’s course was better for me, but I don’t mind this year’s route at all, and the only thing it has is the time trial. I think we’ve improved a lot in time trials, and later there is the climbing time trial. It’s a good course. Before, I lost a lot of time in the time trial, this year, however, I was second at the Basque Country tour, and it was because of an error that I lost the stage. I was also strong at Romandie, and I’ve improved in these things.”

On Olympic Games: “I know I will be in the running for the Olympics coming out of the Tour with very good form, like I’ve done before, winning the Vuelta a Burgos [in 2013 and 2014]. The Tour gives you a high level of fitness and race rhythm. I think I will be very close to the podium and medals coming from the Tour.”