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