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Colombian climbing ace defeated supposed main Tour rivals in Catalonian stage race.

Photo: Unipublic

MOVISTAR TEAM

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NAIRO QUINTANA

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VOLTA A CATALUNYA

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28.03.2016 @ 10:28 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

The Volta a Catalunya, which finished yesterday, surely boasted an impressive line-up with only Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Thibaut Pinot (FdJ) Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) missing from the action among the biggest stage race names in the business.

 

Hence, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) took great comfort in his overall win in the prestigious event. The leader since stage 4’s summit finish in Port Ainé, Quintana had to fend off an avalanche of attacks on the last day through the Montjuic circuit, but the Colombian kept his cool – and, more importantly, his lead, the fourth smallest in the Volta a Catalunya’s lengthy history.

 

“This last day has been as hard-fought a stage as the whole race has been. I’ve won this Volta with just seven seconds advantage, which is hardly a huge difference and which shows that my rivals are in very good shape. Contador rode very well, and Froome’s condition is improving, clearly. But we’ve won. I’m very, very pleased and proud with this win, beating some of my rivals for my next objectives. I have started the year very well; it’s been an incredible win, one of the toughest of my entire career,” Quintana told Cyclingnews.

 

Quintana will cross swords again with Contador in the Vuelta al País Vasco and with Froome in the Tour de Romandie, but Quintana, although evidently delighted with his triumph, does not feel that he is “ahead of him [Contador] or my other rivals at this point in time. This is one race, and it’s now over. It’s just good for my self-confidence and shows I’m on a good road for the Tour de France.”

 

After País Vasco, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and then the Tour of Romandie are next on Quintana’s race itinerary.

 

“I’ve been training well, but there’s a long way to go for the Tour, so I have to be cautious. But I am ready for the challenges.” He did not, he said, think he had to make any switches to his build-up for July, although he recognised that with Movistar fighting on the backfoot, “today we had to race as much using our head as our legs.”

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