Thursday, April 27, 2017

Four demanding Alpine stages -starting with Wednesday's 161km journey from Digne-les-Bains to Pra Loup (Cat-2), via four other ascents- are in the way of the Movistar Team and the whole Tour de France peloton before the Champs-Élysees in Paris on Sunday. In order to improve their already decent results, leading the teams' classification while Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde sit in 2nd and 4th overall individually, the two GC references from the telephone squad promised to attack as they spoke to the media during the final rest day of the Grande Boucle near Embrun.

 

 

Quintana expressed himself content about his performance so far, but is willing to go for more: "Finishing runner-up wouldn't be a failure for me, rather a huge honour, but there's still a long way to go in this Tour and we'll give everything to win. It still hurts to have lost 1'30" into the second day of racing due to circumstances not related to physical performance, though it's true that Froome was stronger than me at Plateau de Beille - as much as I was in front of the rest. Strategy will be crucial; we trust the whole team, including 'Bala', who is always there, very consistent, an amazing team-mate, and my directors, who always help us out a lot." From what is left in the race route, Quintana underlines the climb towards “Alpe d’Huez (Sunday) - I love it. I raced and trained on its slopes and that climb is something really special for me.”

In turn, Valverde pointed out that he always “kept clear in mind what I was into before coming to this race. Finishing in 2nd and 3rd would be phenomenal, but all of my team-mates and myself will give all that's left inside us for the win. For me, it's evident that Nairo remains incredibly strong and ready to win. In every race I shared with him from the start of the season, I always saw him doing well, but for this third week in the Tour, he's got special motivation, a strong will to do great things and good physical shape to try and gain back that lost time. It'll be difficult, since Froome never showed to be in crisis and didn't suffer into descents - he's strong and has proven he can stand much pressure - but I see Nairo ready, and wherever it's possible, we'll try to attack."

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