LeMond: Quintana will be Froome's biggest Tour de France rival

Three-time Tour de France winner Greg LeMond is backing Chris Froome to win the Tour de France, but insists Nairo Quintana will give him a run for his money

Chris Froome and Greg LeMond on stage fifteen of the 2013 Tour de France

(Image credit: Watson)

Chris Froome will have his work cut out to win the Tour de France, according to Greg LeMond, but the American says Froome will still go into the race as the favourite.

LeMond, who became the first non-European winner of the Tour in 1986, told the Telegraph’s Oliver Pickup that Colombian Nairo Quintana will be Froome’s main challenger on a route which contains 11 mountain stages.

“Well Froome is obviously going to be favourite for the Tour de France, after winning the 2013 edition, and he will be keen to make amends after crashing out last year,” he said.

“And I think Spaniard Alberto Contador, even though he is 32, will still be in with a shout. But I reckon the biggest challenger in the Tour is going to be Colombian Nairo Quintana, an amazing cyclist and probably the biggest talent that I’ve seen in many years.

“If [Quintana] wins the Tour it would certainly shake up the sport. Italian Fabio Aru is another one to watch. Last year’s winner Vincenzo Nibali will also be up there, too. It should be fascinating to see how it all unfolds.”

>>> Cobbles don’t bother me, insists Nairo Quintana

LeMond also told the Telegraph that while he does not feel vindicated since Lance Armstrong’s doping confession, he does believe that the Texan had to fall for the sport to properly wake up to doping.

“I think his fall was important and the sport needed it to actually wake up,” he said. “But the history of the doping preceding Armstrong, and my career was greatly affected by it; I even had a teammate who’d died of it, I believe.

“There’s no absolute proof but I know what he told me when he left our team to join another. When I left the sport I had a really bad taste in my mouth.”

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