Nairo Quintana's Giro/Tour double was 'a team decision' despite his father's protest

Nairo Quintana's father protests that the Movistar team are 'burning up' his son in attempting to win both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France this season

Nairo Quintana on stage eight of the 2017 Tour de France
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Team Movistar says that staff and Nairo Quintana jointly decided to race for the Giro d'Italia/Tour de France double this 2017 season despite his father criticising the decision.

The Colombian, who placed second overall in the Giro d'Italia, is suffering in the Tour de France. He sits eighth overall at 2-22 minutes behind leader Chris Froome (Team Sky). He said in earlier interviews that part of the reason is due to a schedule that spread him thin.

"Colombians are protesting because they are burning up Nairo," Quintana's father Luis Quintana told Colombian radio station Noticias Caracol.

Nairo Quintana on stage 12 of the 2017 Tour de France. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

"He should not have raced the Giro if he was going to race the Tour. It's due to a lack of organisation in team Movistar. It seems that they're learning that this is not the way to race a Tour."

>>> Tour de France 2017: Latest news, reports and race info

"There's truly nothing to say," Movistar team boss Eusebio Unzué told Cycling Weekly. "I'm not going to say anything. I don't need to, it's not the case.

"I didn't even hear [his dad on the radio] to tell you the truth. And in the end, a mum or dad, with all respect to them, will say these things when they are wrapped up in emotions and far removed from the reality."

Watch: Tour de France 2017 stage 14 highlights

No rider has won the Giro/Tour double since Marco Pantani in 1998, but even then he had the advantage of the Festina Affair reducing the Tour peloton.

Alberto Contador tried in 2015. He won the Giro and placed fifth in the Tour behind Froome. He said afterwards, "I came out of the Giro tired. I was fresh mentally, very motivated, but my body was still tired."

"We all put our thoughts into the decision," said Unzué. "Paris is still far off. We saw a different Nairo already in stage 13.

"The truth is that he has raced eight Grand Tours, won two of them, three times second, a third place, a fourth place, and another were he had to pull out due to a crash. So, that means that he's always there battling for the win."

Quintana won the 2014 Giro d'Italia and upset Froome to win the 2016 Vuelta a España.

Nairo Quintana on the attack during stage 13 of the 2017 Tour de France. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

"Sometimes people expected more from him, but he's 27 years old, like Bardet, Aru, Pinot, like many. He's been up there already for many years," added Unzué.

"It's good, but the reality is he went to the Giro and nearly won. He had the bad luck of going into the last time trial against Tom Dumoulin, a true time trial star."

Unzué said, "Why not?" when asked about attempting the double again in 2018.

>>> Nairo Quintana: ‘We’ll have to be daring to win the Tour’

"It's something that can be done. I'm sure that in the next years, someone's going to try again. Look at Alejandro Valverde, he could've won the Giro and then came to the Tour and placed sixth working for Nairo. If you manage you recovery well between the races, you can do it. It's harder mentally than it is physically."

Quintana, however, said after stage nine in the Tour, "I'm starting to lack strength having already put in a huge effort this year [in the Giro]."

In another interview after the Peyragudes stage, he said, the double turned out to be a "losing bet. Another year we'll do it better. We'll prepare for the Tour like on other occasions, and we will arrive in better condition."

Thank you for reading 10 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.