The Colombian rider reportedly said he will target an historic Grand Tour double in 2017, but his manager looked to play down speculation
Nairo Quintana‘s Grand Tour plans are still undecided says Movistar boss Eusebio Unzue, despite the Colombian rider reportedly saying he would be targetting a Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double in 2017.
The 2014 Giro winner told his native newspaper El Tiempo earlier this week that it was decided he would go for the Giro and the Tour next year, aiming to become the first rider to win both in the same season since Marco Pantani in 1998.
“Everything is determined already,” Quintana said. “We will go to the Giro to make a showing, to try to do well there, but with the objective of coming out of that race in good shape to take on the Tour.”
Alberto Contador was the last rider to attempt the double in 2015 with Tinkoff, but after winning the Giro the Spaniard was unable to recover enough to find the form to take on Chris Froome (Team Sky) for victory.
Quintana has attempted a double more than once in recent years, including last year when he won the Vuelta a España after falling short at the Tour.
But the Giro/Tour double is popularly seen as the more difficult double, and Movistar manager Unzue told Gazzetta dello Sport this week that Quintana’s plans were not fully decided yet.
“I don’t know why this news has come out,” Unzue said. “We haven’t completely defined the programmes yet.
“There’s a chance that Nairo will ride the Giro and the Tour, or else the Tour and the Vuelta. For now I don’t think it’s even right to say how much of a chance there is that he’ll do one programme or the other.”
The 26-year-old is unlikely to face competition for Grand Tour leadership of his team in 2017, with veteran rider Alejandro Valverde already stating that he will look to turn his focus to one-day racing next year, after riding all of the three week races in 2016.
Quintana will face stiff competition if he decides to line-up at the 100th edition of the Giro though, with defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida), Fabio Aru (Astana) and Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) all set to vie for victory.