This Dark Horse Contender Could Steal the 2020 Tour de France
UPDATED 8/26/20 to reflect Tour team selections
The 2020 Tour de France is destined for competitive mayhem, with Jumbo Visma looking like the team to beat even as a slew of Ineos talent flanks former Tour winner Egan Bernal. Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome have been dropped, allowing Ineos to focus solely on supporting the young Colombian. Steven Kruijswijk is unable to ride the Tour due to injuries he sustained in the recent Criterium du Dauphine. Now all eyes are on riders like Tom Dumoulin, who placed second overall in the 2018 Tour, and Slovenian star Primož Roglič, winner of the 2019 Vuelta a Espana and the 2020 Tour de l’Ain. But in a recent interview, Roglič made note of one rider he believed would be “difficult to stop at the Tour”: Nairo Quintana.
Drawbacks from Last Year: What Makes Quintana a Dark Horse
Quintana was notably unhappy with his former team, Movistar, throughout the 2019 season. His morale suffered and he only displayed traces of his previous strength. Considered a favorite for the top spots in the Tour last year, Quintana only managed to place 8th overall — still a considerable feat, but not a match for expectations. However, he did win a mountain stage toward the end of the race, renewing faith in his capabilities.
Wins and Opportunities in 2020
The form Quintana has shown this year with his new team, Arkéa Samsic, is far more remarkable, putting him on pace to impress during the 2020 Tour. He has already won the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var and the Tour de la Provence this year. Quintana is also back on his bike after being hit by a car in early July, thankfully escaping without major injuries.
The 2020 Tour, delayed until August 29, favors climbers like Quintana, who is naturally comfortable at high altitudes. The mountainous route could dislodge the dominance of riders who excel at flatter stages. Quintana, 30, has billed his fellow Columbian Bernal, 23, as the favorite to win this year’s Tour, though Quintana has more experience in Grand Tours. Bernal seems to have named Roglič as his main rival, though Roglič seems to be focused on… Quintana.
Aside from the mountain-heavy Tour route, the big question is whether or not the leaders of Ineos and Jumbo-Visma are in Tour shape after the shake-up at the Dauphine. If the media pressure gets too heavy and recent injuries flare up for Bernal and Roglič, Quintana may easily rise to the top with the full support of Arkéa Samsic. But the truth is, this year has been full of variables that could throw a wrench in anyone’s Tour hopes. We’ll simply have to wait and see.
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