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"If we look at what happened today I'm full of confidence and that encourages me to work even harder. I think that in 2014 we will try to win the Tour de France, but that will require work every day. Obviously, my results this year...

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22.07.2013 @ 15:51 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) has been the major revelation of the 2013 edition of the Tour de France.

 

At only 23 years of age, Quintana has already assembled an extraordinary list of victories including winning the general classification at the Vuelta al País Vasco, this season, ahead of Sky duo Richie Porte and Henao. Even before Quintana had rolled up to the start line in Porto Vecchio there was already talk of him being good and powerful enough in the mountains to be a possible future grand tour winner and his Tour de France performance has done little to quench such theories.

 

On some of the earlier stages in this year’s Tour de France Quintana tried his luck and attacked at long distance range. In the process he won many supporters but would eventually run out of steam only to be caught, dropped and eventually squashed by Chris Froome (Sky).

 

Saturday’s penultimate stage, however, demonstrated that Quintana, possibly aided by his Sports Director and his team leader at Movistar, possesses the ability to learn from past mistakes. His late move left his rivals with insufficient time to respond to his explosive attack. In the short climb to the finish he was able to put 18 seconds into Joaquím Rodríguez (Katusha) and about half a minute into Froome, and do what he's been threatening to do for most of the race.

 

"I wasn't so sure that it would happen like this, contrary to my team and director," Quintana told the waiting reporters according to L’Èquipe. "It's true that they helped me so much, especially psychologically. I'm only 23 and never imagined for a second that I could be here today. I've had enormous support from the team until the very end."

 

Quintana commenced the Tour de France with secluded status in the team, and as a super domestique for teammate Alejandro Valverde, an unusual occasion for someone riding his first Tour de France. When things turned sour for Valverde, the Colombian was ready to step into his shoes and assume the role of team leader. "When Eusebio Unzué said to me that I'll be the leader of the team, I obviously said yes to him," the Movistar rider said. That paid off as Quintana was able to win the last summit finish stage on Saturday to move into the runner-up spot behind Froome.

 

The result has done little to lower the enthusiasm surrounding the diminutive Colombian, with Quintana talking about taking a shot at winning the Tour de France next year.

 

"If we look at what happened today I'm full of confidence and that encourages me to work even harder. I think that in 2014 we will try to win the Tour de France, but that will require work every day. Obviously, my results this year give me a lot of confidence."

 

With Carlos Betancur, Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran also having demonstrated mind-blowing climbing abilities earlier this season, Colombian cycling is currently witnessing a boom in the interest in cycling not seen since the early 1980s.

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