Route du Sud (st. 3)
Another show of quality by the Colombian youngster to dominate the Queen stage in the Route du Sud, obtains 18th Movistar Team victory in 2012 as he leads the race with one stage to go
Nairo Quintana keeps impressing the world in his first experience as a WorldTour professional rider. The Colombian youngster from Movistar Team, 22 years old, notched up his fourth win of the season by leading the way home on stage three in the Route du Sud, the Queen of this year’s event and an authentic Tour effort with more than 200 kilometers and the climbs of the Tourmalet, Soulor and Spandelles before the finish in Arras. Quintana culminated a big piece of teamwork, the Blues sending Javi Moreno ahead into a breakaway that was reached after the Tourmalet by a group of favourites including about 25 riders with Herrada, Pardilla, Castroviejo and Quintana.
The group was reduced to a sextet through the uphill towards Soulor with an impressive pace by Pardilla, the Spaniard reaching Perget (ALM) into the descent as the Frenchman did the climb solo in the lead. Pardilla was preparing the attack by the team’s leader in the final climb, and Quintana did not disappoint his team-mates with a solo move where he opened gaps increasingly to reach the finish with more than a minute over Hubert Dupont (ALM), above four on Anthony Charteau (EUC), six minutes on Kenny Elissonde (FDJ) and Perget and seven over Talabardon (SAU) and a crucial role player Pardilla. The South American hopeful from Movistar Team has taken over the leadership and will try to emulate what Vasil Kiryienka achieved last season tomorrow. He will have a last stage over several ups and downs ahead, 140 kilometers around Saint-Gaudens.
QUOTES / Nairo Quintana: “I’m really, really happy, but absolutely dead tired because it was a tremendously hard stage. More than six hours on the bike, we ended up doing 210 kilometers over those mountains… We went really fast from the start, Androni set a big pace off the bunch and we went through the Tourmalet too fast. All of that paid off in the finale. The stage went just as we expected it to be at the strategy meeting. We had to put someone into the break so as not to work behind before the climbs and Moreno allowed us to do so. Pardilla came into the last climb with a few seconds over the quintet I was part of and that helped me to tackle the climb strong and attack. I made a 20-second gap easily and increased it kilometer by kilometer. All my team-mates did an excellent work and I have to thank them for it. This win is dedicated to them, and I also want to remember those who can’t be on the bike at the moment due to injuries, such as Pablo Lastras and Ángel Madrazo. We will have to control things tomorrow in the beginning, expecting that squads with sprinters help us in the finale. I’ll tackle the stage calm, because these team-mates make things so easy and you’re so confident. I wish we can keep the jersey, because it’d be the best way to close up this first half of the season, so I can leave for Colombia on Wednesday in order to rest and start preparing myself for the Vuelta.”
Photo (c): Maxime Lafage – Route du Sud