Colombian Nairo Quintana, second to Chris Froome at the 2013 Tour de France, said that he is unsure of his race programme. He plans to race the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España but that could change depending on team Movistar and its sponsor.
“There is a possibly to race at the Giro d’Italia. I don’t know yet,” Quintana said at a press conference ahead of the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.
“I’ve been given the idea that I’ll go [to the Giro], but I don’t know yet. I hope that I’ll know this week which race I’ll do. I’m waiting on [team manager] Eusebio Unzué.”
The five-foot-six, 23-year-old improved throughout the Tour de France. He won the final mountain stage, clinched the mountains polka-dot jersey and second overall.
Quintana also won the Tour of the Basque Country and Vuelta a Burgos last year. Along with Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), he makes up a short list of riders capable of beating Froome.
“He went well [against Froome] and I think he could go well again,” sports director José Luis Jaimerena told Cycling Weekly.
“He’s 23 and he’s already shown to be at the top but we need to remain calm, not only for his physical state but the pressure and everything else. He’s got a lot of years in his career and time to win the Tour.”
Froome, five years older at 28, raced three editions of the Tour de France. He debuted in 2008 and returned in 2012 to help Sky team-mate Bradley Wiggins win. He took the overall himself last year.
“It’s clear that Nairo can go there to experiment,” added Jaimerena. “He did it last year. We just want him to go step by step, relaxed. To go a little more calmly.”
The only catch could be sponsor, mobile communications company, Movistar. It may ask Quintana to race the Tour de France instead of its other leader, Alejandro Valverde.
“Normally we run our plans by the sponsors, and they’ve never said no to our ideas,” he continued. “It’s not saying that they don’t want that programme, but we just need to talk before deciding.”
Quintana starts his 2014 season on Monday in the Tour de San Luis. Before returning to Europe, he heads home to Colombia to be with his fiancée who is expecting the birth of their baby girl in February.