After the disappointment of the 2017 season which saw him fail to win either the Giro d’Italia or the Tour de France as he chased a historic double, Nairo Quintana is enjoying an easier start to the year as he focuses his attention solely on the Tour in 2018.
Currently in Colombia ahead of the inaugural Colombia Oro y Paz race which starts on Tuesday, Quintana says that he is looking forward to focusing his attention completely on the Tour in 2018.
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“I get more and more experienced every season. We worked differently every year, and we decided to focus all our efforts on the Tour de France this season, and plan our training and racing exclusively on that,” the 28-year-old said.
“It will be very different in 2018, since I won’t be racing the Giro d’Italia, so we will be taking things easier in the first part of the season, so we can save all energy for the Tour de France. For the time being, everything looks great.”
Watch: Tour de France 2018 route guide
Quintana was speaking a day ahead of the start of the Colombia Oro y Paz, a new 2.1 level race that has attracted four WorldTour teams with Team Sky, Quick-Step Floors, and EF Education First-Drapac joining Movistar on the start line in Palmira.
The race consists of six stages, the first three offering flat parcours that should see bunch sprints, before three back-to-back summit finishes.
However despite the mountainous end to the race, with the final stage finishing with a 19.8km climb that tops out at more than 2,200m, Quintana said that the riders should be grateful for the relatively easy route.
“When the race route was planned, many of us asked the Colombian Federation not to make it too hard, since we’re at the start of the season. We could have designed routes with 5,000 meters of elevation gain, but we’re not ready for such difficulty at this point of the year,” Quintana continued.
“That’s why the first three stages will be flatter, so we can build some form, and then we will tackle the mountains, especially on Sunday, with the finish in Manizales, which I think will be the crucial point of the race.”
Movistar have also announced more of Quintana’s schedule as he prepares for the Tour de France, with the Volta a Catalunya and the Vuelta a Pais Vasco forming the rest of his spring schedule.