Movistar continue to back Quintana for GC and won't use him as domestique despite time deficit

No change of plan for Movistar despite Quintana being more than two minutes down

Nairo Quintana lost more than two minutes on stage one of the Tour de France
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Movistar will continue to Nairo Quintana's fight to recover a two-minute deficit rather than employing him as a super-domestique to Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde.

The Colombian lost time in stage one when he smashed both wheels and again in the team time trial. He sits 2-10 minutes behind race leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and 2-05 behind top classification rider Geraint Thomas (Team Sky).

"We are going to keep going as we began," Alejandro Valverde said.

"Nairo and Landa are giving their best for the overall, I'm around to help, try to go for stages and to be there without losing time in the overall. With all the mountains coming up, they're the team's favourites."

>>> Luke Rowe 'light-heartedly' tears down spectator's anti-Team Sky banner before Tour de France start in Lorient

Valverde said it is worth spending team energy helping Quintana get back on par with Chris Froome and his other rivals. "There are so many mountains ahead and space for Nairo to gain that time back."

Quintana emerged in 2013, winning the polka dot jersey, young rider jersey and placing second to Froome. He placed second again in 2015, but suffered in the last couple of editions of the Tour.

Mikel Landa spent the last two seasons with Team Sky. Last year, he appeared stronger than Chris Froome at times and placed fourth overall. This year Movistar have him as one of its three leaders.

Watch: Tour de France stage five highlights

"All three of us are here and there's much more to race in this Tour," Landa said. "We need to see how Sunday [the cobbled stage] goes and the stages in the Alps.

"He's not a helper, Quintana's a leader. All three of us need to race for it."

"It's clear, we are going to help him recover his time," said sports director José García Acosta. "He's a leader like Mikel and Alejandro. We are going to try to pull that time back.

"Seven men will help him, and seven for Landa, and seven for Valverde. That's our plan."

>>> Who's out of the Tour de France after stage five?

The flat and lumpy stages continue through Sunday, when the riders must cover 21.7 kilometres of Paris-Roubaix cobbles. After a transfer/rest day, the mountains begin.

"We have got to see how it goes day by day. But for sure, we need to see what happens in Roubaix, how things are. We could come out with a different tactic," added García Acosta.

"Right now, it's too early, we need to see after Roubaix. But Quintana is not a helper now."

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.