‘If I have to pick, I would go for Quintana’, says Cadel Evans
July 7, 2015
As the Tour de France gets under way, former winner Cadel Evans picks Colombian Nairo Quintana as the favourite for the race, as long as he can get through the first week.
Speaking exclusively to Laureus.com, Evans, who won in 2011, said: “I put Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Chris Froome ahead as my first three favourites. Alberto Contador is the best rider of the generation, but he may pay for his efforts in winning this year’s Giro d'Italia.
“I'm guessing we will have a close fight for the first half between Nibali, Froome and Quintana. If I have to pick one name, I will say Quintana - if he can get through the first week without problems.”
In 2013, Quintana finished second in the Tour and also won the Young Riders Jersey and the King of the Mountains competition, though he chose not to compete last year.
Australian Evans said: “At 22, and judging by his results so far, it's very possible he could become the next great Grand Tour rider.”
Evans, who retired earlier this year, says he will miss competing in the Tour. “I still get excited about the Tour, maybe more so now that I don't participate as it allows me to watch and enjoy the race as a fan.
“The Tour is the biggest event in cycling, but also on an international scale. It is possibly the most watched annual sporting event in the world. The preparation of the teams has become more specific, so the teams are stronger but also closer which leads to closer and more exciting racing.
“The event has also grown on a public scale, with more countries being visited and a broader audience taking interest in the race,” added Evans.
Laureus Ambassador Fabian Cancellara has withdrawn from the race after falling and breaking two vertebrae in his lower back after going over the handlebars of his bike in a multi-bike crash.