Valverde prepared to take Tour back seat to support Quintana


Alejandro Valverde may have finished on the Tour de France podium 12 months ago but he is prepared to relinquish a repeat to aid Nairo Quintana's push for the yellow jersey.

The Movistar rider - who won the Vuelta a Espana in 2009 - has started 2016 well with a fourth Fleche Wallonne win and a third-place finish at the Giro d'Italia.

Since making his Tour debut in 2005 Valverde has recorded five top-10 finishes, but he is not expecting to add to that this year.

Team-mate Quintana pushed Chris Froome all the way in 2015 before having to settle for second, something Valverde hopes to help change at this year's race.

"It will be the first-ever Grand Tour and the first major race of any kind that I've taken part feeling completely relaxed," he told El Espanol.

"If I have to lose time on a flat stage, then I will lose it and I won't be upset.

"When we reach the mountains I'll be fresher this way in order to be able to help Nairo. I'll also be freer to hunt for a stage victory, on the understanding, of course, that it doesn't harm the team's main goals.

"I'm already certain, though, that if I'm ahead on a stage and Nairo attacks behind and I receive orders to stop for him, then I will do so. I won't have any problem giving up on wins for him.

"He [Quintana] is on the right track. He's not under pressure and he's done his homework."

After assisting his Colombian colleague, Valverde will turn his attentions to Rio 2016 and the OIympic Games road race.