Paris-Nice (st. 4) / Tirreno (st. 2)
After abandons from injuries by Costa and Gutiérrez, a crash in the finale relegates Nairo Quintana out of general contention in Paris-Nice
It’s not being the best ever of performances for Movistar Team in Paris-Nice as fortune keeps hiding to the Blues after five days of racing to the sun. Following the crash that affected Imanol Erviti and Rui Costa -forcing the Portuguese rider to abandon- during the first road stage, and the nephritic spasm that sent Iván Gutiérrez home yesterday, it was the turn for the squad’s biggest hope, Nairo Quintana. The young Colombian crashed in the finale of stage four -200km from Brioude y Saint–Vallier-, in the descent of the Côte de Talencieux (18km from the finish), after having led the ascent two accelerations at the front of the main group.
The incident happened in a critical moment, with the elite field of about 50 riders about to split due to the twisty road and the strong pace by BMC at that point of the race. Despite making the back of the group, Quintana would later be relegated to the third of the groups forming up just seconds later. Even though Herrada, Rojas and Javi Moreno came to help the young Colombian, Quintana did not bridge to the 30-man group starting the Col de la Sizeranne (Cat. 3) together –he even got to 100 meters after the tail of the group into that last climb-, and at the final downhill, Nairo would lose two minutes on the day’s winner, Michael Albasini (OGE), and race leader Andrew Talansky (GRS). Quintana, together with his five team-mates still on course, will have a chance to bounce back tomorrow on day six, with the only mountain-top finish in the race, La Montagne de Lure (Cat. 1), after 176km and five other minor climbs.
Sprint under the rain in Italy
Meanwhile, the first road stage of the 2013 Tirreno-Adriático saw relentless rain falling over the riders in a marathon 232km from San Vincenzo to Indicatore, with Matthew Goss (OGE) claiming the day’s honours. No major changes in the GC -with Cavendish (OPQ) in the lead- keep the Movistar Team on top -from the 6th to the 12th spot- after their sensational second place yesterday at the opening TTT. More of the same should happen on Friday, though the route will be slightly hillier in the 190k between Indicatore and Narni Scalo.