Quintana won’t rule out Giro/Tour double in 2017

The Colombian won the Italian grand tour in 2014 but has yet to win the Tour de France.

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MILAN (VN) — Colombian Nairo Quintana remembers his first grand tour win well and says that for that reason, for the race’s charm and high Alpine passes, he wants to return to the Giro d’Italia. He may compete in 2017 but says he needs to see the route and talk with Movistar management first.

Quintana debuted in the Italian grand tour in 2014 and won the overall title. His team took him there with the idea of gaining experience after he had placed second in his Tour de France debut a year prior behind Chris Froome. He placed second again in the 2015 Tour and was third this summer. In September, he won Spain’s grand tour, the Vuelta a España.

Another attempt to win the Giro is on Quintana’s mind, however.

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“I hope soon because the Italian climbs are ones that are most suited to a climber like me,” Quintana told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport about when he might return. The newspaper began the race in 1909, and in 2017 it will celebrate its 100th edition.

“My next season is centered on the Tour, the only grand tour [win] that I’m missing,” Quintana said. “But this does not mean automatically that I won’t be at the Giro. We are waiting to see the route and then I’ll speak with the team.”

The 2017 Giro d’Italia will begin May 5 on Italy’s Sardinia island with three stages, but the rest is unknown until the presentation October 25. The route is expected to snake south to north, with summit finishes to the Oropa Sanctuary, the Stelvio Pass, the Pordoi Pass, and the Piancavallo ski resort in the Dolomites.

No one has won the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in the same year since Marco Pantani in 1998. And counting the Italian, only seven riders have done so in cycling’s history.

“It’s certainly intriguing. But in the last years it’s been ‘easier’ race the Giro and Vuelta at a high level, or the Tour and the Vuelta,” Quintana said. “The Giro demands a lot. Then racing the Tour means that you find yourself up against rivals that are all, no one excluded, at 100 percent.”

Quintana cannot stop thinking of the Giro, though. The stage to the Formigal ski resort two weeks into this year’s Vuelta reminded him of the Stelvio stage to Val Martello. In 2014, he rode clear with a small group over the Stelvio Pass that was blanketed with snow. He won the stage and took over the pink jersey. In the Formigal stage, he and Alberto Contador of Tinkoff rode clear immediately with a group and left their rival Froome behind. Though he already had the lead, the stage paved the way to his Spanish title.

“The Stelvio stage and Formigal stage were both ‘locura’ [insane] days,” Quintana said. “That [Giro] victory had more resonance. It was the first, it showed my capacity.”

Movistar must wait a few weeks for the Giro and Tour organizers to present their routes: the Giro in Milan on October 25 and the Tour in Paris on October 18.

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