Colombian Nairo Quintana Wins The Giro d’Italia

Quintana_wins__giro_stage21_2014

MILAN, June 01, 2014 (AFP) – Nairo Quintana became the first Colombian
winner of the Giro d’Italia as Slovenian Luka Mezgec won Sunday’s 21st and
final stage.

Movistar’s Quintana, who was second at last year’s Tour de France, headed a
Colombian one-two with Rigoberto Uran finishing second and 23-year-old Italian
Fabio Aru, the revelation of the race, third.

Mezgec of Giant-Shimano, beat Italian Giacomo Nizzolo and Tyler Farrar of
the USA in the sprint finish at the end of the 172km stage from Gemona to
Trieste.

Quintana, widely regarded as the best climber in the world, totally
dominated the final week of the race having initially seemed out of sorts in
the first couple of weeks when first Australian Cadel Evans, the 2011 Tour de
France winner, and then Uran, who was also second last year, took the race by
the scruff of the neck.

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But Quintana made his move on Tuesday’s 16th stage over 139km from Ponte di
Legno to Val-Martello, despite being so cold that he couldn’t feel his hands
and team-mate Gorka Izagirre had to feed him on the descent of the Gavia
mountain.

That stage began in freezing conditions with walls of snow around the
riders but Quintana not only resisted the elements but rode away from his
rivals to win the stage and take the leader’s pink jersey off Uran.

“It’s a Giro in which I’ve suffered, more than anyone could imagine,” said
Quintana.

“I had physical problems, I wasn’t at 100 percent, I must have been at 60
percent of my full potential.

“The descent of the Gavias (was the toughest point). I was frozen, tired.
Izaguirre fed me. That’s what allowed me to continue, and to win.”

Three days later he extended his lead and consolidated the feeling it was
his tour to win when he triumphed in the 19th stage mountain time-trial.

And even on Saturday’s climb up the infamous Monte Zoncolan, none of
Quintana’s overall GC rivals could take time out of him and the race was won.

Quintana, who will miss July’s Tour de France as Movistar pin their hopes
on veteran Spaniard Alejandro Valverde, said this result proves he will be the
man to back for the 2015 Grand Boucle.

“In this Giro I’ve learnt to overcome adversity and to manage a team over
three weeks, to be a leader,” he said.

Uran, who moved into pink when winning the 12th stage individual
time-trial, admitted he had been beaten by the better man.

“I thought I could win the Giro. I believed after the (stage 12) time-trial
but I’ve never been able to see it through in the Grand Tours,” he admitted.

Sunday’s mostly flat final stage was always going to be about a bunch
sprint finish despite a brave breakaway from Canada’s Svein Tuft and Dane Lars
Bak that lasted around 35km but was hauled in before the final 10km.

Thereafter the sprinters’ teams controlled the pace of the peloton to
ensure it ended in a bunch scramble.

Frenchman Nacer Bouhanni, the leader of the points competition, was the
favourite having won three stages earlier in the race but when it came to the
final sprint, he didn’t have the legs and had to settle for fourth.

Cannondale and Team Sky had done a lot of the pace-setting in the run-in
but neither of their sprinters, Italian Elia Viviani and Briton Ben Swift
respectively, managed to figure in the challenge for victory.

Nizzolo’s Trek team controlled the last couple of kilometres but when it
came down to it, Mezgec had the stronger legs.

Leading results from the 21st and
final stage of the Giro d’Italia, a 172km ride from Gemona del Friuli to
Trieste on Sunday:

Stage 21:
1. Luka Mezgec (SLO/GIA), 4hr 23min 58sec, 2. Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA/TRE)
same time, 3. Tyler Farrar (USA/GRM) s.t., 4. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/FDJ) s.t.,
5. Roberto Ferrari (ITA/LAM) s.t., 6. Leonardo Duque (COL/COL) s.t., 7. Luca
Paolini (ITA/KAT) s.t., 8. Tosh Van der Sande (BEL/LTB) s.t., 9. Borut Bozic
(SLO/AST) s.t., 10. Iljo Keisse (BEL/OPQ) s.t., 11. Enrico Battaglin (ITA/BAR)
s.t., 12. Matteo Montaguti (ITA/ALM) s.t., 13. Sonny Colbrelli (ITA/BAR) s.t.,
14. Marco Canola (ITA/BAR) s.t., 15. Georg Preidler (AUT/GIA) s.t.

Selected others:
28. Rigoberto Uran (COL/OPQ) s.t., 30. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) s.t., 33.
Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) at 9sec, 82. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) s.t.

Final overall standings:
1. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 88h14:32, 2. Rigoberto Uran (COL/OPQ) at 2:58,
3. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 4:04, 4. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EUC) 5:46, 5. Domenico
Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 6:32, 6. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 7:04, 7. Wilco Kelderman
(NED/BKN) 11:00, 8. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) 11:51, 9. Ryder Hesjedal (CAN/GRM)
13:35, 10. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO/TRE) 15:49, 11. Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA/ALM)
24:45, 12. Franco Pellizotti (ITA/AND) 26:13, 13. Alexandre Geniez (FRA/FDJ)
27:02, 14. Maxime Monfort (BEL/LTB) 28:36, 15. Ivan Basso (ITA/CAN) 32:08

Overall standings (pink jersey): Nairo Quintana (COL/Movistar)
Points standings (red jersey): Nacer Bouhanni (FRA/FDJ.fr)
Mountains classification (blue jersey): Julian Arredondo (COL/Trek)
Young rider classification (white jersey): Nairo Quintana
Team standings: AG2R La Mondiale

Factfile of Nairo Quintana who on
Sunday became the first Colombian to win the Giro d’Italia:

Surname: Quintana
First name: Nairo
Date of birth: February 4, 1990
Place of birth: Combita (Colombia)
Nationality: Colombian
Height: 1.67m
Weight: 59kg

Teams: Boyaca (2009), Colombia es Pasion (2010 and 2011), Movistar (since
2012)

Main victories:

One-day races:
Tour of Emilia 2012

Stage races:
Tour of the Basque Country 2013
Tour de l’Avenir 2010, Vuelta a Murcia 2012, Route du Sud 2012, Vuelta a
Burgos 2013, Tour de San Luis 2014

Grand Tours:
Tour de France: 2nd in 2013. Won Mountains classification and young rider
jerseys.
Giro d’Italia: winner in 2014. Best young rider.
Vuelta a Espana: 36th in 2012.

Photos:Corvos

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