• Nairo Quintana is in a good position as the mountain stages of the Tour loom large (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Nairo Quintana will head into the mountains of this year’s Tour de France with renewed confidence after his Movistar team put in a solid performance across Stage 9 of the race to help him recover from a tricky first week.
By
Cycling Central

13 Jul 2015 - 9:22 AM  UPDATED 13 Jul 2015 - 10:07 AM

BMC won the stage from Team Sky by a single second, with Movistar in third at four seconds, but the advantage over rivals Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) was significant for the diminutive Colombian.

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“The result itself is magnificent, as well the third spot, only losing out by four seconds,” Movistar team boss Eusebio Unzué said. “We would have taken that if you’d offered it before the start.”

While clearly happy with the position he finds his team in, Unzué did reveal the team was frustrated by an error that it believed cost it a stage victory, and an even stronger position for Quintana to take into the mountain stages ahead.

“There's a bittersweet taste as we think we lost it at a point of the route, the one with biggest crowds, where the group lost a bit of order almost inadvertently,” he admitted.

“We might have conceded, I think, 10 to 15 seconds at that point, surely decisive for the win. The lads are the ones more conscious about the mistake.

"Still, I think we must remain optimistic about this result. It's only that getting so close to taking a TTT win in the Tour (that is the frustration), and that would have confirmed the great progression we've carried over the last four years, with some good results along the road.

“We were convinced we could win. Summing things up, we reduced our deficit to some of the GC rivals – Alberto, Rigoberto (Uran) – others were further behind, like Nibali or 'Purito' (Joaquim Rodriguez, Katusha) and the ones who were over us took insignificant gains, with those 3 seconds behind Froome and 4 seconds to van Garderen.

Unzué said he was now well aware that the favourites for overall victory this year were well and truly up for the fight, but added that the hills ahead could blow apart the current state of the race, and possibly favour Quintana.

"Surely the Pyrenees will offer some surprises, and we will have to wait until the Plateau de Beille climb to really know who the best competitors are,” he said.

“This first chain of mountains will create serious changes in the GC, prior to a final week full of toughness and also difficult for the previous efforts. We're happy with how everything went up to date, apart from that time lost on Stage 2, and we remain hopeful for what's to come."

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