Quintana coy on Vuelta chances

Nairo QuintanaPre-race favourite Nairo Quintana (Evens fav Vuelta A Espana 2014 Outright) admits that he is still unsure if the Vuelta a Espana route suits him as he prepares for the start of the race in Jerez on Saturday.

After finishing second in last year’s Tour de France, the Colombian confirmed himself as one of the stars of cycling by winning the Giro d’Italia in May and is widely expected to claim his second Grand Tour title over the next three weeks.

However, his task has been made much more difficult by the depth of the field, as after skipping the recent Tour, he is now set to face some of the riders he chose to avoid with both Chris Froome (7/4 second fav Vuelta A Espana 2014 Outright) and Alberto Contador (10/1) returning to racing after crashing out in the opening stages of the Grande Boucle.

Home favourite Joaquim Rodriguez is also expected to challenge while Quintana’s biggest threat could come from within his own team, with him set to lead Movistar alongside 2009 champion Alejandro Valverde.

The 69th Vuelta begins with a team time-trial on Saturday but with a fairly gentle start to the race, the 24-year-old admits he will not know if the mountainous route will benefit him until the “real racing” begins.

“It’s going to be one of the strongest Vueltas in years, with all big stage racing names in, and that makes the race even more important and attractive,” he told Movistar’s official website. “I did a recon of some stages, but it won’t be before the real racing when we know if it’s a really good parcours for me or not.

“There will be a big competition between all of us: let’s hope to bring some spectacle so the fans can enjoy.”

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