Nairo Quintana: “I’m tired, everything is decided and nothing bothers me”

On Wednesday in Paipa, next to Lake Sochagota (Boyaca department), it has already passed 19:00 (Colombian time) and the night is closed. After a brilliant second stage of the Tour of Colombia, Movistar salvaged a difficult day.which allowed its leader Nairo Quintana to reach the finish line along with the rest of the general classification favorites. (Carapaz, Uran, Bernal…). He is finishing up a massage given by one of his brothers at the Estelar Hotel, where they are also staying, before Friday (that night and Saturday will be closer to Bogota, the main city of the last leg) with Astana and Education First teams (three World Tour teams ). Louise, responsible for organizing Nairo’s events in Colombia, He looks for a secret location in the hotel to interview AS because he knows that if Quintana is revealed to other people staying at the hotel,a request for photographs and captions on the Colombian would be inevitable.

This Colombia Tour marks the start of his second phase at Movistar (the previous one was from 2012 to 2019). When he gets off the bus, goes to an autograph check, or just shows himself these days, we see that there are up to five or six people around him who are protective of him, given the large number of fans who support him. How do you deal with this?

Well, little by little I got used to it. We have almost ten years of experience and we know how to behave. As you have seen, the love of the people is overflowing. We gave them our whole soul, we have been representing this land for more than ten years, and people feel gratitude and sympathy. Sometimes it’s true that affection accumulates, isn’t it? But an event like this, along with the national championship, is the only opportunity to see us in action.

Do you value that affection more now that you’ve spent a season without performing?

I’ve always appreciated that. Last year I had all the support and encouragement. They inspired me to keep pedaling hard, and today those emotions are shared by everyone. We are determined to continue to do everything we can to continue to represent this land in the best possible way.

Do you think he was unfair to you?

Situations that happened happened, right? And if we go back in time today, it means reliving the pain and discomfort. I prefer to focus on the future, this second stage, the upcoming competitions and all the wonderful things that I am experiencing and want to experience.

Pre-season, in terms of data, performance… Has everything gone as you expected?

I have good numbers. I have always remained healthy. It’s different in competition because in training you don’t have the adrenaline that can make your body go almost over the top sometimes, right? To those impulses and efforts that make you race. There are days when they become aggressive throughout the entire stage, with short, very short efforts, which becomes tiring at the end. It’s not there in training and until I get to that point I think I’ll need a couple more races to see where I can end up.

Recently published in France news related to you (Colombian doctor Fredy Alexander Gonzalez Torres, who was in Arquea in 2020, like Nairo, is under investigation “for possession of a substance or method prohibited for athletes.”“). Are you tired of this topic? Are you worried?

I’m really tired. Today I want to think about enjoying and being happy. I think we’ve done some brilliant, very beautiful things. And at this stage of my life there were also difficult times. There are better runners than me, I have always said this, I recognized that the years go by, that young people come. And there are runners who also need to be talked about and appreciated. Together we are here to move this sport forward. Nothing worries me, everything can be solved, as you saw. I want my team to take another step forward with these young people who have great potential. I hope I can also share my experience and donate it. This year we see that the team as a whole will show very good results. We see this at the beginning of the season.

On August 29, the fourth stage of La Vuelta left Andorra, where he lives (near Colombia). There he was seen talking to Eusebio. If La Vuelta doesn’t go through Andorra, won’t you be at Movistar?

Well, we talked for a long time, but it is true that upon arriving in Andorra, in the second home, everything was a little more concrete and there was a little more realistic approach to achieving that wonderful and long-awaited signing that they wanted most of Nairo’s fans.

Nairo Quintana in an interview with AS in Pipe (Colombia)


Nairo Quintana in an interview with AS in Pipe (Colombia)

In Spain, his contract with Movistar This was a surprise. For you too?

I think it was a surprise to everyone. We went through the initial stage in eight years, of which we had several successful ones (Giro 2014, La Vuelta 2016…). We managed to lead the team as the best in the world for many years, without exaggeration, because that is how we were nominated for several years, being one of the strongest teams. I came out, he gave me some air, and we had a good relationship, a great friendship. I am very grateful to Eusebio Unzue, who came here to Colombia to my home in 2011 to sign a contract that would change Nairo’s life. After a pause, the reunion turned out to be exciting and exciting for both parties.

Did you regret leaving Movistar?

I had to do this. I think it’s been a few years since both sides felt comfortable. We had to take a new breath. On the day of farewell, which was not a farewell, but a quick meeting, we met and thought that he would definitely return in the future and perform again with Movistar.

Last October at the Critérium del Tour in Singapore, Froome (four-time Tour winner) said that Quintana and Contador made him suffer the most. What does this tell you?

He was also a great opponent for me. Part of my success is that he was one of the people who pushed me to push myself harder, to be stricter, to be a perfectionist, to work harder to beat him. He was one of the greatest in the history of cycling and the opportunity to become one of his greatest rivals makes me proud.

He turned 34 last Sunday. Today, many riders enter the WorldTour at 18, 19 or 20 years old. What do you think?

This is a pretty serious problem. We don’t let kids be kids, we make them professionals from a very young age. This will make cycling too premature. It doesn’t bring as much pleasure as it should, which is why so many young people give up cycling because they see their lives are passing by and that there are other things to enjoy. And we were able to survive it. At the age of 21 I turned professional, and today, at 21, I am faced with the task of winning the Tour de France. The situation has changed, I think, not only in cycling, but in all sports. Moreover, after the pandemic, these changes and professionalism have become stronger. Technology keeps us racing every time. At greater speed in every sense. Let’s not leave anything to chance so the opponent can score a point later. That’s why cycling is really so even in everything and today it’s even more difficult to win.

It’s their comeback season. Are you afraid that yes, at the Tour of Colombiain O Gran Camiño no results come, debates begin about whether the break affected him, what he will be capable of…?

I come to have fun, to complement the team, and also to help Enric Mas in the competition. May we be together and do great things. I don’t know if I will fight face to face, face to face, with the most important people. I have good numbers, good legs, but I don’t know how far or when I can reach their level. It could be this week, or maybe in the O Gran Camino. Or the Giro. Or after the Giro. What I said about these changes of pace is a year without competition. It’s hard to get back to this pace, I hope to be patient, to let people know that we have to be patient. I did my best and the numbers are there. I hope that sooner or later I can pick up this pace and become one of the best.

Why is the contract only for one year?

Initially we did this for a year so we could then see into the future. Both for me and for the team. I am 34 years old. I don’t want to grow old on a bike either. I have two children, a family and a business, and I am always ready to make decisions and move them forward. It is an accumulation of many things that make us go step by step.

Nairo Quintana at the Tour of Colombia this week


Nairo Quintana at the Tour of Colombia this weekEFE

At the start of the second stage of the Tour of Colombia, some fans given its popularity, they said that if in the future he thinks about becoming a governor, he will achieve it. Can you imagine something like this?

Sporting triumphs aside, it is true that we put on our T-shirts to work for the betterment of society. For young people to engage in sports and education. And it really made people show a lot of empathy. Who is not only a leader in cycling, but also makes and returns things for them. Political issues are not among my motives. It is clear that I have always worked with politicians at the national and regional level to be able to bring projects to youth and farmers. I will continue to work in almost the same spirit.

We learned that before June he is considering publishing a book about his life and career. Ever since he got up at three in the morning to go to work.

It will be something special because sometimes we are conformists. Sometimes we cry about a lot of things and don’t see what other people are doing. Sometimes we suffer and do not see how other people suffer, how they are born and how they grow. I think my life story is an inspirational story for many young people. How through perseverance, perseverance and the desire to be different from others, they change their culture, their way of life. We are writing my story, which can probably be read or seen on television, to inspire many young people who, unfortunately, today have few aspirations and have lost motivation.

Last. What is Nairo Quintana asking this year, the year of his comeback?

Happiness. I want to enjoy cycling. I love winning races. I like to be with the best. And that makes me happy. That’s why I came back and that’s what I want to do. Regardless of whether there are victories or not, happiness and being around, in a good position.

All information about the Tour of Colombia 2024

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