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Can a Colombian wear yellow after the 2013 Tour de France team time trial?

July 1, 2013
Colombian flag

Colombian flag

[updated July 2, 2013]

It might be a longshot.

But Nairo Quintana could wear yellow after tomorrow’s team race against the clock in France. It would be the first time a Colombian cyclist has donned the TDF leader’s jersey since Victor Hugo Pena wore it ten years ago in 2003

Why Movistar?

Quintana’s Movistar team has improved its performance in this special discipline since it finished in 19th place at the last TDF TTT in 2011. Things seemed to turn around in 2012. The Spanish team won the team race against the clock in last year’s Vuelta a Espana.

This year the TTT has appeared in only two World Tour events. Movistar placed second in both, at Tirreno-Adriatico and the Giro, losing to Omega Pharma-Quick Step and then Sky. The team held a late March TTT-focused camp at a motorsports circuit in Spain after Tirreno which likely contributed to its Giro results.

But pre-Giro podium results hint at a pro-cycling squad that works well together and has become a force in the TTT.

The competition

Tomorrow’s 25 kilometer course resembles Tirreno’s more so than the Giro’s undulating route with lots of corners. All but one of the twenty-two teams have a man placed within one second of leader Jan Bakelants (RadioShack Leopard) and they’ll all hunt for the honor of yellow on the Promenade des Anglais. Argos-Shimano’s best-placed rider on GC is Tom Dumoulin who trails the lead bunch by 13 minutes.

Another Colombian rides in the TDF this year, Jose Serpa on Lampre-Merida. The Italian team could find a top ten result but based on recent performances isn’t as likely to move a man into the yellow jersey.

Judging by RadioShack Leopard’s tenth and fourteenth places in Tirreno and the Giro, the odds are pretty good another team will claim the leader’s spot tomorrow. If not Movistar, Garmin-Sharp, Astana, Sky, and Omega Pharma-Quick Step are favorites. Tony Martin’s post-crash form could dull the latter’s chances and injuries sustained by Sky’s Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas could hurt that team’s performance.

By straight math Quintana’s chances for yellow are one in 196 — that’s the number of riders who completed Stage 3. Even if Movistar wins tomorrow, he would have to cross the Nice finish line first ahead of teammates who likely covet the leader’s jersey. That includes team leader Alejandro Valverde who’s targeting the podium this year.


Note: This piece is proof that passion can be blind. It fails to recognize that going into the TTT Valverde is 19th on GC ahead of Quintana who is 33rd. If Movistar wins the TTT, the Spaniard would wear yellow, making Quintana’s chances much more than a longshot, because it is unlikely the team would shed Valverde on the course. The point however remains that Movistar can deliver an excellent time in Nice.

  1. So Garmin doesn’t rate a mention ? You think they will not be able to repeat previous performances ? See in the next days as i ride the routes of the TDF for ” Parasport ” for the 16th year .

    • Hi Skippy, Best of luck on your ride this year. The piece does mention Garmin-Sharp, but as you say, doesn’t elaborate on their past performance. Thanks for your comment.

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