Nairo Quintana is apparently set to target the Tour de France and Vuelta a España in 2022, skipping the Giro d'Italia despite earlier hints at a Giro-Tour double.
The Colombian's manager, Giuseppe Acquadro, has been speaking on his rider's upcoming season in conversation with the Spanish journalist Javier Ares, who gave the latest update on his rider's plans for his 11th season in the WorldTour.
Quintana was always set to target the Tour de France, he has said, having completed the Grand Tour eight times and finished on the podium three times, and the 31-year-old is still a big name for his French Arkéa-Samsic team to have on the start list at their home race.
Despite hints that the multiple Grand Tour winner could be returning to the Giro d'Italia for the first time since 2017, having only raced the Italian Grand Tour twice - his debut appearance in 2014 seeing him take the maglia rosa - his plans have now changed, according to Acquadro. Arkéa-Samsic are also yet to formally announce their rider's Grand Tour intentions for the coming year.
Despite the 2022 Giro course not containing an overwhelming number of time trial kilometres, the opening TT of 9.2km is followed by a closing, climbing TT in Verona of 17.1km, Quintana is instead expected to stick to his regular Tour/Vuelta double, which he has undertaken four times during his career.
Quintana's resurgent 2020 saw him win two French stage races before taking the final stage of Paris-Nice, was cut short by the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. The Colombian's Tour de France that year was beset by crashes, while his 2021 campaign was then fairly anonymous, despite a strong finish in the autumn Italian one-day classics.
"We are good, improving every day. For the first time in a while I finished off a season in good physical shape, and now I’m motivated to work for the coming year," Quintana said at the Tour de France route presentation in Paris towards the end of last year.
"I am a GC rider," he continued. "Every year I come to the Tour with these ambitions, except 2021, when physical problems wiped them out. The route is good for us. It’s important to arrive in top condition to be able to take it on."
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