Giro d’Italia champion Nairo Quintana has announced his major season objective for 2105 and the first half of his race schedule.
“After winning the Giro this year and crashing out of the Vuelta while race leader, my big objective for 2015 will be the Tour de France,” Quintana told ESPN.
While winning the Tour will be his first priority, the Colombian climbing sensation was outspoken in stated his goals leading up to France.
“First, I’m going to win the Tour of San Luis, then win Paris-Nice, after which I plan to win the Volta a Catalunya and following that win I’m sure I’ll win the Tour of the Basque County. I am Quintana and everyone fears me,” said Quintana.
He went on to say that he plans to “win the Ardennes classics, do a little altitude training back home in Colombia before I return to win the Tour de Suisse, scaring the crap out of Froome and Contador, before I win the Tour de France.”
Actually Quintana didn’t say any of those things but such is his awesome talent and confidence, who would put it past him? Not skinny Chris Froome of Sky or Pistolero Alberto Contador or the Kazakh’s favorite adopted son Vincenzo Nibali.
Quintana is the one everybody fears because he’s the explosion waiting to happen at any moment. On any hard mountain climb he can suddenly take two or three minutes on his top rivals and with his time trial improving, that is a terrifying scenario.
If you’re David Brailsford standing in the Sky war-room surrounded by Sky sports scientists and performance factors experts and aerodynamics gurus and assorted data-crunchers and athletic algorithm developers, Quintana is a frightening adversary that defies the normal variables and margin gains planning.
Script all the possible outcomes and still, you’re left with the distinct possibility that Quintana will destroy them all with one vicious, death-blow acceleration that puts him in his own time zone, far ahead of everyone else.
Even a risk taker like Vincenzo Nibali has to be concerned about Quintana taking his Tour crown. Unlike the delicate Froome, who has questionable bike handling skills and who doesn’t fair so well in bad weather, Quintana showed no weakness on mercy when he ripped the pink jersey off fellow Colombian Rigoberto Urán on the controversial stage over the4 Stelvio Pass.
A botched attempt by race organizers to red flag and slow down the descent in miserable weather didn’t prevent Quintana from taking 1:39 out of Urán. Even a skilled and fearless descender like Nibali has to respect that kind of fearlessness and aggressive.
The Giro was also our first startling proof that Quintana wasn’t the nice, quiet guy from Colombia who was just happy to be making good money and feeding an extended family back hime. He was opportunistic, aggressive, nasty, willing to interpret the loose rules of the road to his benefit and unapologetic about it.
That go-for-the-jugular attitude is something top Tour rival Alberto Contador can appreciate. When Andy Schleck dropped his chain in the Tour many years ago, the Spaniard kept going full-gas. After that stage, Andy had a “stomach full of anger” and Alberto was on his way to a Tour win.
After his runner-up position in the 2013 edition of Le Grand Shindig, Nairo Quintana now has his sights set on winning it all. All we have to say is, look out.