Nairo Quintana's early season race programme is confirmed as he looks to the Tour

Manager talks up Colombian's credentials as Quintana looks to add Tour victory to his palmarès

Nairo Quintana wins, Criterium du Dauphine 2012, stage six
(Image credit: watson)

Movistar's manager Eusebio Unzúe has gone on the record to state that Nairo Quintana is the greatest climber he has ever worked with.

Unzúe confirmed the Colombian's early season race programme, which will lead to an assault on July's Tour de France, starting in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

He agreed that Quintana was part of a quartet of favourites, and that he would have to overcome strong challenges from Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali.

“For me, Nairo is the better climber out of that bunch," Unzúe told Cycling News, "but at the same time he’s still young and he still has a lot to discover about the Tour de France and he needs to gain experience there.

"We had some great talents on this team over the years but he’s the best climber we’ve had and the guy with the most ambition. Those two factors are key and higher than in any other cyclist we’ve ever had.”

>>> Chris Froome is the favourite for the Tour de France, says Alberto Contador 

As we already know, Quintana will begin his build up to the Tour at the Tour San Luis in January, where he returns as defending champion.

Last year, his victory at San Luis was the first step towards his overall victory in the Giro d'Italia in May. However, Quintana has already stated that the Tour will be his main focus in 2015, and as such his early season build-up is likely to differ to 2014.

This year's Tour route has been billed as one for the climbers, with as many as five summit finishes across seven mountain stages and no long individual time trials. This will suit Quintana, who lost a sizeable 3' 16" to eventual winner Chris Froome in the flat time trial in the 2013 Grand Boucle, but was unrivalled on the climbs as he won the 2014 Giro.

Source: Cycling News

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