Nairo Quintana picks altitude training over racing ahead of Tour de France

The Colombian won't race either of the Critérium Du Dauphiné or the Tour de Suisse in the build up to the Tour de France

Nairo Quintana in action during Stage 6 of the 2016 Tour de San Luis
(Image credit: Watson)

Colombian Nairo Quintana will miss racing against Team Sky's Chris Froome in June, instead opting for training at altitude ahead of the Tour de France. Team Movistar says that he will train at altitude at home and race only France's Route du Sud, June 16 to 19.

Froome will likely race the Critérium du Dauphiné from June 5 to 12 before the Tour begins on July 2.

He won the race in 2013 and 2015 before going on to win the Tour de France, both times ahead of Quintana. The race often pulls in other stars and is seen as a pre-Tour test along with the Tour de Suisse.

"It's practically the same as last year's programme. After [Tour de] Romandie, he went home to Colombia. He'll come four days before Ruta del Sud and then head to the Tour," Team Manager Eusebio Unzué told Cycling Weekly.

"It's just so that he can spend more time in altitude, he doesn't need to have too many race days. It's a different path to the Tour de France, but it works well for him."

Watch: Tour de France 2016 essential guide

Quintana will start the Tour with around 32 race days compared to Froome's 27 and Alberto Contador's 33.

"Maybe later in his career he will need more race days. With Alejandro Valverde we usually participate in Dauphiné. Keep in mind, Nairo will also race the Vuelta a España this year," added Unzué.

"I don't think it's necessary to race against all of his rivals. We race to get him ready for the goal, not to face them. The Route del Sud serves him well with a time trial of 15 kilometres and a big Pyrenean stage... That's enough."

Quintana placed second to Froome in 2013 and 2015, and skipped the Tour in 2014 to focus on the Giro d'Italia, which he won. Last year in the Tour, the 26-year-old came the closest to upsetting Froome for the win.

"He'll continue to improve and be there to fight for the win, but there's Froome, Alberto, [Thibaut] Pinot and [Fabio] Aru... He's going well, he did the Volta a Catalunya [placing first], País Vasco [3rd] and the Tour de Romandie [1st] at a high level. A little better than last year. He'll arrive well for the Tour."

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