MONTE ZONCOLAN, Italy, May 31, 2014 (AFP) – Nairo Quintana of Colombia is
certain of Giro d’Italia victory barring any final stage disaster after
preserving his handsome lead in Saturday’s penultimate 20th stage won by
Australia’s Michael Rogers.
Quintana came home in a pack ahead of his closest rival Rigoberto Uran and
carries a 3min 7sec lead into Sunday’s closing 172km flat run.
The Movistar rider, who measures just 1.67m (5ft 6in) and finished second
in last year’s Tour de France, is set for his first major Tour victory as the
race which began in Belfast, Northern Ireland three weeks ago, concludes in
For Rogers this was his second win after coming home first in the 11th
stage which finished at Savone.
“Bjarne Risse (team manager) told us to get two in the escape and I was the
last one to get in. Nicolas (teammate Roche) really worked hard for me and I
could concentrate on the Zoncolan, a climb I didn’t know,” said Rogers.
“We had very little information on the time gaps but at the end I delivered
a time-trial performance on the climb.
“Every victory is beautiful but the Zoncolan, is a mountain historic on the
Giro. For any rider, it’s a dream to win this stage,” he added.
Rogers came out on top at the summit finish, outlasting Italian Franco
Pellizotti by 38secs after the two men broke away from an early escape group.
“I wanted to win but victory wasn’t smiling on me,” said a dejected
“If I had done it, it would have been the greatest day of my career. There
were so many fans who came out to support me. Such a shame.” he added.
Another Italian Francesco Bongiorno, who was badly hindered by an over
excited supporter, took third place, 49secs adrift of Rogers with Irishman
Nicolas Roche in fourth at 1min 35secs.
“I am very bitter about what happened,” said Bongiorno. “I couldn’t play my
card the way I wanted because of this push from the supporter and I had to put
my foot down which made me lose my rhythm.
“On a climb like this, it’s very difficult to recover and I cried with
anger, but what could I do.
“It should be a warning, perhaps alcohol was too high as well. The
supporters are there to help but they have to show respect,” added the
Quintana and Uran crossed the line together at 4min 45secs but it had no
major effect on the overall standings.
Organisers had promoted the 167km run from Maniago to Monte Zoncolan as one
of the toughest in Europe with a final 10km run facing the riders with a climb
of 11.9 per cent.
After a long breakaway group reached the base of the final climb with a
lead of seven minutes on the peloton, Rogers and Bongiorno made their move 5km
from home with the Australian making his final attack at 3km from the finish
following the fan incident with the Italian.
The 34-year-old Rogers only returned to competition in April at the
Liege-Bastogne-Liege following a positive doping test last season that was
Leading results from the 20th
stage of the Giro d’Italia, a 167km ride from Maniago to Monte Zoncolan on
1. Michael Rogers (AUS/TIN) 4hr 41min 55sec, 2. Franco Pellizotti (ITA/AND)
at 38sec, 3. Francesco Bongiorno (ITA/BAR) 49, 4. Nicolas Roche (IRL/TIN) 1min
35sec, 5. Brenk Bookwalter (USA/BMC) 1:37, 6. Robinson Chalapud (COL/COL)
1:46, 7. Georg Preidler (AUT/GIA) 1:52, 8. Maxime Monfort (BEL/LTB) 2:12, 9.
Dario Cataldo (ITA/SKY) 2:24, 10. Simon Geschke (GER/GIA) 2:37, 11. Mattia
Cattaneo (ITA/LAM) 2:39, 12. Yonathan Monsalve (VEN/NRI) 3:02, 13. Riccardo
Zoidl (AUT/TRE) 3:14, 14. Axel Domont (FRA/ALM) 3:21, 15. Maxim Belkov
(RUS/KAT) 3:46, 16. Edoardo Zardini (ITA/BAR) 3:46, 17. Nairo Quintana
(COL/MOV) 4:45, 18. Rigoberto Uran (COL/OPQ) 4:45, 19. Tim Wellens (BEL/LTB)
4:51, 20. Wout Poels (NED/OPQ) 4:59
17. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 4:45, 18. Rigoberto Uran (COL/OPQ) 4:45, 21.
Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 4:59, 22. Fabo Aru (ITA/AST) 5:01, 23. Pierre Rolland
(FRA/EUC) 5:05, 24. Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 5:10
1. Nairo Quintana (COL/MOV) 83hr 50min 25sec 2. Rigoberto Uran (COL/OPQ) at
3min 07sec, 3. Fabio Aru (ITA/AST) 4:04, 4. Pierre Rolland (FRA/EUC) 5:46, 5.
Domenico Pozzovivo (ITA/ALM) 6:41, 6. Rafal Majka (POL/TIN) 7:13, 7. Wilco
Kelderman (NED/BKN) 11:09, 8. Cadel Evans (AUS/BMC) 12:00, 9. Ryder Hesjedal
(CAN/GRM) 13:35, 10. Robert Kiserlovski (CRO/TRE) 15:49, 11. Alexis Vuillermoz
(FRA/ALM) 24:54, 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, 16. Hubert Dupont (FRA/ALM) 35:56, 17. Matteo Rabottini (ITA/NRI)
46:16, 18. Michael Rogers (AUS/TIN) 47:47, 19. Damiano Cunego (ITA/LAM) 49:22,
20. André Cardoso (POR/GRM) 51:09