Nairo Quintana speaks to the media during second rest day in 2017 Tour de France after bad day en route to Le Puy-en-Velay on Sunday
“We’ve got badly accustomed to winning or being up there inside the top guys at every single Grand Tour we went to in the past. This is life – you’ve got to take the blows and accept defeat with the same humility as you do when you’re a winner. It’s really difficult to assume you’re not strong enough because you’re used to getting into a race and always feel on par or sometimes stronger than other contenders. However, I remain calm about everything I did. I worked as hard as it was required to win.
“You always have a bitter taste on stages like last Sunday’s. It’s not good, it’s not beautiful, it’s not easy to go through such pain, harder than you’re used to. You’ve got to accept that, finish your race as close to the top as you can.
“I try to not pay much attention to critics because many of them do not know how it feels to struggle on a bike, how big are the sacrifices you have to take in order to be successful. We’ve done a really great season, not only myself but the whole team. We’re so sorry about Alejandro’s crash because, with him, things in this Tour would have probably been different.”
“We’ve gone through a difficult time in this Tour de France. We did everything that we could to reach the race in good condition, but the results have been as you could see so far in this race. Now we will try to go for another day like the one we had in Foix. We will, of course, try to go for a stage win – ambition and willingness to do something good are never lost that easy. We’ll try to shine in the upcoming days, but we must see how our legs do first, especially considering yesterday’s loss on not such of a difficult terrain. We’ll carry on until Paris. We want to finish the Tour on a high note, rest up and get back on our feet because this season is not over yet.”
A CLOSE TDF GC
“Having four riders in 30” – it’s a really close race that we didn’t see during the past few years. A team was superior to the rest but didn’t make such big gaps. It will be a really interesting final week, just like the rest of the race. Any of them can go for the victory.”
“We started the season really well, winning Valencia and Tirreno-Adriatico; got back racing at the Vuelta a Asturias before the Giro, where I won a really tough Queen stage, and was 2nd overall at the Giro after getting to the final TT in pink – we then came here to the Tour with an aim of doing things even better,but we weren’t as strong as we wanted. I simply didn’t recover well. It seemed as though the recovery time between the two Grand Tours was too short for me this time. We haven’t really sat down to analyse what we could have done better – it’s something we will have to deal with after the race. Going for the GT double again? I don’t know if I’ll try again, but if we plan things right, I think it can be done again. Next year I should be again in excellent condition to chase the win here in the Tour.”