Quintana says Chris Froome is still his number one rival at the Tour despite no wins this season
Quintana appeared ready to topple Froome in 2016 after coming close in 2015. However, last year he suffered from allergies and appeared below his best.
This year’s tactical course with three true summit finishes and plenty of traps could work in his favour.
“The more climbs the better, but it also depends on the fitness of the others,” Quintana said in a packed press conference.
“We have to be more daring. Every team will make their strategy – I think it will be a Tour with a lot of strategy, a lot of movement, very particular, like [Team Manager Eusebio] Unzué said.
Quintana said it would be “daring” to try something on one of the descent finishes, like stage nine.
“It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve tried. We will play with the tactics. Anything can happen in this race. We have to be alert, we have to be daring.”
This year’s Tour de France includes fewer time trial kilometres than normal with stages one and 20 adding up to 34.5. And far less than the Giro with its 69.1 kilometres.
“Maybe it’s less favourable than other years, sure I will lose a bit of time, but we hope it won’t be a lot of time in the time trials. The truth is it is less worrying than in the Giro that really had many time trial kilometres,” said Quintana.
“The Giro preparation was different and a bit particular, we had in our heads that the Tour was the most important goal, we came out of the Giro feeling pretty well, and we come to the Tour with good legs, good sensations.”
Quintana took some days off and stayed in Europe during the 33 days between the Giro ending in Milan and the Tour’s start in Düsseldorf. From his home in Monaco, he trained and travelled to preview some Tour stages.
He also watched the Critérium du Dauphiné on television and took note of his top rival, Froome.
Froome, out of character, lost time to rivals like Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) in the time trial.
“I saw a good high level of riders who were very good in Dauphiné, there was a high level, and I think that Froome will have improved his form to perform well in the Tour.
“For me he is the number one rival, and for sure he will be ready to win.”