Nairo Quintana: As the team leader that I am, I welcome Landa
Oct 24 2017 08:47 pm CET

Nairo Quintana: As the team leader that I am, I welcome Landa
Nairo Quintana: As the team leader that I am, I welcome Landa
Photo of Nairo Quintana by the A.S.O.

Movistar's Nairo Quintana is already looking forward to next season, having his eye on the Tour de France and establishing his position as the leader of the squad.

The position of Mikel Landa ahead of his first season in Movistar has been a topic of debate, but Quintana insists that he is the sole leader of the Spanish squad. During the 2017 Tour de France, there were rumours about Landa replacing the Colombian in the team, but he claims that this is not true.

"I had already announced that I had a contract for three more years until 2019 and I was calm," the Colombian said to Spanish newspaper El Pais. "Eusebio (Unzue) made that good signing and everyone will have their place in the team. As the team leader that I am, I welcome Landa.

"For us, he will be a big help in races that I had to do before for the team and the sponsor. Before I had to be there and now there is someone else covering them for me and I can be in the ones that will allow me to be in good shape at the Tour."

The position of Quintana in the team has been questioned, as some might choose to favour Landa, a Spaniard with a potential of winning big races. "I've never seen it like that. With Eusebio, we have talked it over. We know each of us will have our own responsibilities and races," the rider explained.

"Spaniard or not, I know that also Telefonica Latinoamerica gives me its support and it has a big part of its business in Latin America. I'm at home and I feel comfortable and thankful with the brand and vice-versa."

The two riders will see each other during the winter training sessions because until now they haven't had the opportunity to meet. "I haven't talked to Landa but I'm calm and happy because I know he's a guy that can give a lot to the team," Quintana commented. "In the moment we have to break the race and leave it for a one-on-one fight, he will be a good addition. We have our ways of playing and facing other teams. If we could have two or three more like Landa, that would be great."

When asked about his chances to win the Tour de France and the comments about these chances being a thing of the past, the Colombian has a clear answer. "I count on the faith of the public and my own. I'm 27, I'm not a grandfather. In theory, I still have my better years to come and it has been good to learn from the mistakes we have done. We know we don't have the budget or the riders of other teams, but this is our team and we will defend it with pride."

Now the 2018 season is coming and the rider has ideas on how to face the course of the French Grand Tour. "The point is to arrive at the Tour like other years where I was feeling good and without complications. I will continue with the same trainers but I may change of habits and in May I could do height training in Europe instead of Colombia as I've done in the past. Eusebio wants me to ride in France in the spring."

"I will focus on the Tour. Now we know that Alejandro (Valverde) will lead the team at the Vuelta and it gives us tranquility. And on top of it, we will have Landa to do some tasks as well."