Quintana and Contador Give up On Overall Hopes


Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador gave up on their respective Tour de France chances after losing more time in the Pyrenees on Thursday. Colombian climber Quintana, runner-up to Chris Froome in 2013 and 2015, has not looked his usual self this year, losing time in every mountain stage, which are supposed to be his forte.

He cracked 12km from the finish of Thursday’s 214.5km stage from Pau to Peyragudes and lost more than two minutes to stage winner Romain Bardet to no  sit eighth overall at 4:01 behind race leader Fabio Aru.

“We fought as much as we could, but we didn’t have the strength,” said Quintana, who admitted the gamble to ride May’s Giro d’Italia followed by July’s Tour was not paying off. “You win some bets and you lose some, and this time we haven’t won the way we hoped we would.” Quintana, 27, a former winner of both the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, said he would now focus on something different, perhaps a second stage win to add to his only previous one in 2013. “A stage win or something — we hope to salvage something,” he said. “We don’t have the strength we hoped for and until we do we won’t know what we can do.”

After winning the Vuelta last year, Quintana’s Movistar team had decided he rides better in his second Tour of the year than first, so opted to compete at the Giro this year before the Tour.
He finished second in that but believes it is what has left him exhausted now.

Asked what has gone wrong, he said: “Maybe it’s a lack of strength, the Giro was very fast. It could be the preparation, it’s the first time I’ve ridden the Giro and Tour (in the same year). “We hoped it would work, but we were wrong.

“Next year we’ll prepare for the Tour normally, like the other years.” Another whose overall hopes are finished is twice former champion Contador. He didn’t crack until just over 5km from the finish but was even caught and passed by Quintana before the line.

He’s now more than seven minutes back overall, although that’s in part due to suffering from crashes on Sunday and Wednesday. “I’ll have to think about a stage win now because the overall is impossible,” said the 34-year-old Spaniard, who was nonetheless upbeat. “I’m happier than I was this morning, it went better than I hoped — this morning I felt dreadful,” he added.

Photo: Bettini

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