Nairo Quintana: 'I don't like having three leaders in the Tour'

Quintana says the 2019 Tour de France route is ideally suited to him

Alejandro Valverde, Nairo Quintana and Mikel Landa on stage 15 of the 2018 Tour de France (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Nairo Quintana, second twice in the Tour de France behind Chris Froome, has said that he would prefer not to be one of three leaders in Movistar's squad for the race.

This summer, the Spanish super-team raced with Quintana and Spaniards Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde as leaders. The team managed seventh overall with Landa and a stage win with Quintana, with the Colombian eventually finishing 10th overall.

"I don't like that there are three leaders," Quintana told France 24.

>>> Mikel Landa: ‘I want to race the Giro and Tour in 2019’

He said that team boss Eusebio Unzué believes in the eight-man roster composition with three leaders: "He is convinced that this is possible."

Nairo Quintana celebrates victory on stage 17 of the 2018 Tour de France (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Valverde placed 14th overall, with the Tour and the Vuelta a España helping him towards the World Championships, where he won the road race title at the age of 38.

It is unclear if the new world champion will be named again as a leader for Movistar's 2019 Tour team.

Early indications are that Landa will race the Giro d'Italia and join Quintana for the Tour, taking place from July 6 to 28.

Quintana won the Giro in 2014 and in a direct confrontation with Froome, the Vuelta in 2016. After finishing twice second overall in the Tour in 2013 and 2015, he seemed ready to become Colombia's first Tour winner.

"We have had brighter years," he said looking back on 2018, having also placed eighth in the Vuelta and 15th in the Worlds.

"I had reached at a very good level, but things did not finally go as we wanted. I always seemed to be missing a bit of shine. The stage in the Tour was one brilliant moment, but I wanted much more."

With the rise of other home stars like Sky's Egan Bernal, Quintana's time is running out to become his country's first Tour winner. It is clear in 2019 the 28-year-old will return to the Tour, with a route that suits his strengths featuring five summit finishes above 2,000 metres and minimal time trial kilometres.

"The mountains are in our favour, and passes at high altitude, that suits me because that's where I live and train," he said.

British-Italian former professional Max Sciandri moves over to Movistar from BMC Racing to help coach and direct Quintana along with current staff including José Luis Arrieta. It will be a critical season with Quintana's Movistar contract expiring.

"We're already looking at what we do in the future," Quintana said. "For now, we're thinking about having a great season with this team that has always treated me well."

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