Nairo Quintana is a professional cyclist who was born in Colombia and has been one of the most prominent figures in modern cycling, where he was one of the most prominent climbers, having most famously won the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana throughout his career. He has also on multiple occasions gone head-to-head with Chris Froome at the Tour de France, and Quintana hold in his palmarès dozens of World Tour wins, and titles in some of the most prestigious stage-races in the world.
Name: Nairo Quintana
Born: 4 February, 1990
Birthplace: Cómbita, Colombia
Turned Pro: 2009
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Nairo Quintana was born in the town of Cómbita, near Boyacá in Colombia in the 4th of February 1990. He is one of the best climbers in modern cycling and one of the most successful stage-racers, and has built his career and palmarès out of those talents. He's also played an important role in the current flow of South American riders into the World Tour, seeing as many riders are born and live at very high altitudes in the region which sees them as naturally developed into the specific demands of the sport.
His contract with Arkéa Samsic is expiring now at the end of 2022, but he earned a salary of €1.9 million euros per year. In the 2014 Giro d'Italia on the mountain time-trial to Monte Grappa, Quintana is estimated to have ridden at 6.18W/Kg for over 55 minutes. This would have his FTP at between 6.1-6.2W/Kg likely. He is married to Yeimi Paola Hernandez with whom he has a son. Nairo's brother Dayer Quintana has since 2014 raced alongside him (on all but 1 year) in Movistar and Arkéa Samsic, and although not as successful, has also been an acomplished climber throughout his career.
Like many of his compatriots, Quintana's professional career began far away from the spotlight of European racing. The diverse Colombian calendar provided him with opportunities to, 2009 being his first year as a pro with the Boyacá es Para Vivirla team where he began racing in Europe frequently. At 19 years of age he won the youth classification in the Vuelta a la Comunidad de Madrid which featured several big names such as Alejandro Valverde or Francisco Mancebo.
2010 saw him move into the Cafe de Colombia - Colombia es Pasion team, where he's had a relatively absent season until the Tour de l'Avenir. There, he won the overall classification aswell as the final two stages (one mountain stage and a mountain time-trial), which immediately saw many eyes on him. Despite this, he remained in the Colombian team in 2011, a season where he didn't manage to have meaningful results however, outside of the KOM classification at the Volta a Catalunya, his first World Tour race - as the team promoted to Pro Continental that year.
However, he had convinced and in 2012 he was signed by Movistar. Quintana won one of his first events with the team, the Vuelta a Murcia in early March. He had a naturally supportive role in the team, however rode to second place in the GC of the Vuelta a la Comunidad de Madrid, and at the Critérium du Dauphiné he joined the breakaway on the 6th stage to Morzine to take a strong stage win which would be further breakthrough. The following week he raced and won La Route du Sud following a win on the queen stage. This saw him debut in a Grand Tour at the Vuelta a Espana where he supported Alejandro Valverde onto the final podium, and on several occasions having his climbing skills on display. He would go on to win the Giro dell'Emilia later on in the year.
2013 was a year to consolidate his position in the team. A win and 4th place early in the year at the Volta a Catalunya was a great sign, but his overall win at the Itzulia Basque Country - alongside a stage win - saw him into the top of the cycling world. The goal was the Tour de France, and Quintana quickly shown to be the main man for Movistar as Valverde couldn't contest the GC and Quintana flew up Mont Ventoux to 2nd place behind Chris Froome on a mythical day. Quintana won his first Grand Tour stage on stage 20 at Le Semnoz, and finished the race in second place. Soon after, he also won the queen stage and GC at the Vuelta a Burgos.
In 2014 he entered the year on a roll, winning the Tour de San Luis. In Europe he finished 2nd at Tirreno-Adriatico and 5th at the Volta a Catalunya before eyeing the Giro d'Italia. Quintana rode up to 5th place on stage 15, and the 16th stage is where he conquered the race, taking a big stage win in Val Martello. This followed a dramatic moment where atop the Passo dello Stelvio the race was neutralized but some riders - including him - did not see the signage, and gaps were created in the snowy and very dangerous descent. Quintana however secured his lead and won the mountain time-trial to Cima Grappa, proving to be the strongest climber in the race and conquering the Corsa Rosa.
Quintana won the Vuelta a Burgos in anticipation for the Vuelta a Espana, where he rode into the race lead after a very strong first week. On stage 10, an individual time-trial, Quintana crashed into a railguard on a descent and lost serious time. His injuries saw him abandon the race the following day. In 2015 Quintana took a dominant win at Tirreno-Adriatico. He had some other results throughout the year, but was eyeing the Tour de France, where he was once again Chris Froome's main rival, already in the first mountain finish finishing as his closes competitor.
This was a Tour heavily disputed in the final week, with Quintana attacking many times on the final week and taking chunks of time on Chris Froome, but the INEOS machine managed to control the gaps enough and the Colombian ended up riding into 2nd place again. Quintana did the Tour-Vuelta double for the first time that year, racing into 4th place in Spain. 2016 saw him win the Volta a Catalunya and the Tour de Romandie early on, two important wins in his palmarès. 3rd at Itzulia Basque Coutntry and a win at the Route du Sud further added, as Quintana eyed the Tour once again, this time finishing 3rd, not having the same legs of the past but riding into the final podium.
However, the year was not finished, and Quintana would have another tilt at the Vuelta a Espana. He quickly made his intentions clear, flying into the red jersey on stage 8 to La Camperona, and then winning the stage into Lagos de Covadonga on stage 10. Despite being in the lead, he had to keep attacking seeing his small gap to long-time rival Chris Froome. It was however on the 15th stage to Aramón Formigal where Quintana buried the axe, joining a risky breakaway together with Alberto Contador and a large group, and taking 2:37 minutes on Froome after a tactical masterpiece. Quintana shed time, but kept the red jersey safe to win his second Grand Tour.
In 2017 Quintana won the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Tirreno-Adriatico and Vuelta Asturias in the first part of the season. He returned to the Giro d'Italia, an absolutely epic edition of it. Throughout three weeks Quintana engaged in a battle with Tom Dumoulin, Vincenzo Nibali and several other riders who were at a very balanced level to fight for the pink jersey on multiple days, with several lead changes and constant drama. Quintana won the 9th stage to Blockhaus with a dominating performance, lost the lead in the time-trial and got it back on the 19th stage to Piancavallo. Quintana took more time on the 20th stage and went into the final time-trial in pink, but could not resist the surge of Dumoulin, and ended up finishing second in the overall classification.
He started the Tour de France right after, contesting the Top10 throughout more than half of the race, taking part in a big raid on stage 13 to Foix, but could not do better than 12th at the end as he struggled with form. In 2019 Quintana most famously rode into 2nd position at Paris-Nice, almost managing to raid the race successfully on the final day. The Tour de France was on the program, where he won the stage into Valloire from a breakaway, but could only finish 8th on the edition. He was a danger man for the Vuelta however, having succeeded in this way in the past. He did have the red jersey during one day, and won the early stage to Calpe, but did not have the consistency and finished 4th in the end.
In 2020 Quintana had a new project, he moved into Arkéa Samsic, as his relation with Movistar came to an end, and he looked to stay at the helm of a team. He found that in the French Pro Continental outfit, winning the Tour de la Provence and the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var early on, alongside the queen stage at Paris-Nice. After the Covid-19 lockdown he rode to 3rd at the Tour de l'Ain - only behind Primoz Roglic and Egan Bernal however, but at the Tour de France he cracked in the second half of the race and finished far from the Top10.
In 2021 his goals at the Tour also fell very short. He won a stage and the GC at the Vuelta Asturias, but a knee injury and overall bad form saw him struggle through the season. 2022 however was different, as he started out the same way as 2020 with GC and stage wins at both Tour de la Provence and Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var. Now with different ambitions - World Tour points - Quintana had a strong and consistent start to the season, also riding into the Top5 at Paris-Nice and Volta a Catalunya. He crashed out of the Tour of Turkey whilst being the main favourite, but had good form coming into the Tour.
Although the likes of Jonas Vingegaard and Tadej Pogacar were above the competition, Quintana rode to 6th position at the Tour, suffering from an illness in the final week, but finishing 2nd in the queen stage to Col du Granon where Pogacar exploded and lost the yellow jersey. Quintana however would not keep that as he tested positive from the painkiller tramadol twice. This did not result in a suspension, but his results - and points - were removed from his and Arkéa's palmarès, and this also meant his contract was not renewed with the team.
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