Quintana to skip Tour de France to focus on Giro

Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:56am EST
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PARIS (Reuters) - Tour de France runner-up Nairo Quintana of Colombia will skip this year's race as he targets the Giro d'Italia.

Spain's Alejandro Valverde will spearhead the Movistar team's challenge on the Tour, the Spanish outfit said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The Colombian will be the team leader on a grand tour for the first time in Italy," Movistar added. "Both will also be on the Tour of Spain."

It could represent good news for defending champion Chris Froome of Britain as the Tour of France will be without last year's best climber and one of the few riders who dared attack the Team Sky cyclist.

The Giro will be held from May 9-June 1 while the Tour de France is raced from July 5-27.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; editing by Tony Jimenez)

Colombian cyclist Nairo Quintana (gesturing) greets fans upon his arrival at Bogota Airport August 13, 2013. REUTERS/Jose Miguel Gomez