Nairo Quintana must be combined in the past to become aware of its true impact on cycling. His last two years have blurred, until caricatured, a runner who, without reaching the enormous expectations created on him, has been one of the best villagers of this decade. Live history of Movistar , also of his country, it was until the victory of Egan Bernal in the Tour the only Colombian capable of winning a great lap. It shows a medal winners at the height of very few, with a turn, a lap and four other podiums in the big three. Bypassing the Vuelta of his debut, in 2012, he chained six greats on the podium and has only been one time out of the top10, in the 2017 Tour.
And yet, a certain halo of failure envelops him, accompanied by a growing current of contempt of the Spanish fans for its conservative nature. Quintana, in recent years, has been accompanied by several negative clichés, true or not, exaggerated or not: coward, spine, selfish, envious, bad companion ... Among some things and others, the idyll once perfect with the Movistar is It went bankrupt until it reached the current point , with an outcome that is undoubtedly the best for both parties. The group of Eusebio Unzué will open a new era with Enric Mas and Marc Soler as referents, while the Colombian signs a world star contract with the French Arkéa-Samsic . Win-win
« To leave Movistar is to close a cycle , it is a time when there have to be changes to improve. When you win you have to take advantage and enjoy, but you don't have to give yourself up when things don't get right on the road, ”he said a few days ago on a Colombian radio.
The Tour of Spain that starts on Saturday in Torrevieja is going to be Quintana's last big date with the blue jersey. An opportunity for the claim, to show that, still 29 years old, he can still be a great leader who fights to win generals in three-week tests. That his manic "yellow dream" is still valid.
For that, however, he will have to fight a constant during the last two years, since the arrival of Mikel Landa to the telephone set, that Nairo has not assumed anything well: internal competition. Movistar also ranks Richard Carapaz , winner of the last Giro; Alejandro Valverde , always with freedom in the Tour; and surely Marc Soler , who from next year will wear gallons of leader with Mas. Again a corral full of roosters, the tactic that never worked, the one without Quintana (or Landa) will never be repeated.
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