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by Neal Rogers
June 23, 2017
In today’s Daily News Digest: UCI rule changes for 2018 include eight-man teams for Grand Tours, maximum peloton size of 176 riders; Team Sky announces Tour de France team intent on bringing Froome a fourth title; Froome: ‘This year’s Tour route doesn’t necessarily suit me’; BMC Racing announces Tour de France roster built around Richie Porte as sole leader; After runner-up finish at Giro d’Italia, Quintana ready to take on Froome at Tour de France; Gilbert seeking a third Belgian national road title in Antwerp; Tour de France champion Greg LeMond signs huge carbon fibre deal with Deakin University; Team Rwanda invited to Colorado Classic; Research delves into which nations hold overall best athletic prowess across all sports; Man rides 1,400 miles to hear deceased daughter’s heartbeat on Father’s Day
Just 24 days after taking his second podium finish at the Giro d’Italia, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) is trying to make the most of the nine sleeps remaining before the start of the Tour de France (he’ll have enjoyed 33 while getting ready for his second Grand Tour of the season). The Colombian climber preferred to avoid long flights and remained at his European home in Monaco, where he rested up after the ‘Corsa Rosa’ and prepared for a fourth Tour appearance.
In his previous three Tours, Quintana has finished on the podium in Paris — second in 2013 and 2015, and third last year — having also earned KOM and Young rider honours in his debut in t2013, following his only stage win to date atop Semnoz/Annecy.
“After the end of the Giro, I stayed off the bike at home for like a week, and following a couple more days of active rest I started to train more seriously, and took advantage of the race-free month to check some of the key stages in the Tour,” Quintana said. “The past week and this one are being the most intense ones when it comes to training. The fact that we went last week on a recce of the Alps stages made it quite more demanding, but it was good, since our plan for this week was taking on some harder training to fine-tune our form for the Tour. The approach to the Tour is pretty much complete – now it’s all about staying healthy and keeping the legs fresh before the start of the race.
“My feelings towards the double haven’t changed after the result I got in Italy. We prepared for the Giro and the Tour with an aim to win both, even though we knew it was so difficult. We were so close to claiming the Giro GC, we weren’t able to, but it doesn’t matter. We’re as focused on completing this double strongly as we were before the Giro. We’ll try and get them this time in the Tour.
“To me, Froome still looks like the big favourite. He always approaches the Tour perfectly, it’s a race he’s been brilliant at in the past, and I’m sure he’ll be at 100% condition in July. We’ve all seen Porte riding strong for the past few years, and he’s shown great abilities that make him a strong contender. Then there’s Contador and Bardet, two riders with different skills, but as much dangerous. Also the Orica riders, with Yates and Chaves; the Astana duo, with Aru and Fuglsang, who seem to be getting to the start in great form. And as I said before the Giro and the Dumoulin success, there’s always some sort of surprise, riders you don’t count on to get a result and end up contesting the GC.”