The Tour of the Alps always feels like home for true climbers, and Nairo Quintana is certainly one of them. On what will be his absolute debut at the GS Alto Garda race, the Colombian of Team Arkéa-Samsic is one of the most accredited contenders for the new green leader’s jersey of the Euro-regional event, starting from Brixen/Bressanone on Monday, April 19th.
There are no Colombian riders in the Tour of the Alps roll of honor, though they came close on a couple of occasions. In 2018, Miguel Angel Lopez won the uphill finish on the Alpe di Pampeago, on the way to the overall third place. Twenty-two years earlier, in 1996, when the event was still known as Giro del Trentino, Nelson ‘Cacaito’ Rodriguez climbed to the third step of the final podium, just 4 seconds behind winner Wladimir Belli.
Quintana comes with big credentials. Winner of the 2014 Giro d’Italia and the 2016 Vuelta a España, the 31-year-old from Còmbita has been one of the world’s best climbers for nearly a decade. Coming from some up-and-down in recent seasons, El Condor will target a good result in a race that suits his skills, before launching his assault to the Tour de France.
Alongside him, Team Arkéa-Samsic deploys a highly competitive line-up, loaded by climbers, making clear Quintana’s serious intentions for the Tour of the Alps, not only as a stage of his Tour de France build-up. His brother Dayer and fellow Colombian Winner Anacona will stand on his side on the mountains of Tirol, Südtirol and Trentino from April 19th to 23rd, eyeing a first season victory.
The support of Colombia’s fans won’t be missed, both him and his fellow Countrymen. Ineos Grenadiers will line up Daniel Martinez and Ivan Ramiro Sosa, who will be called to shine uphill along with defending champion Pavel Sivakov. Curiosity surrounds 18-year-old Santiago Umba, the latest talent discovered by Gianni Savio, who will try to repeat the feats of Egan Bernal and Sosa himself in the Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec jersey.
Meantime, Team Vini Zabu has communicated its withdrawal from the Tour of the Alps and the Giro d’Italia. This means that 21 teams will be at the start in Brixen/Bressanone, including 13 from the UCI World Tour category.