Vuelta al País Vasco (st. 6)
Colombian takes overall victory in 2013 Vuelta al País Vasco, his first big stagerace, after sensational time trial in Beasain (2nd) against all odds. Movistar Team also wins collective overall
PHOTO GALLERY | Vuelta al País Vasco final stage
Brilliant in all terrains, Nairo Quintana only lacked a huge time trial to confirm all the abilities that drove his signing with Movistar Team in 2012. Saturday would see the Colombian confirming his pure class and surprising the cycling world to claim the overall victory in the 53rd Vuelta al País Vasco in the ‘race of the truth’, a 24-kilometer ITT in and around Beasain, where he clocked the 2nd best time of the day, only behind World Champion Tony Martin (OPQ).
Boosted by the good times from his team-mates -especially from Beñat Intxausti, finishing in 3rd place and acting as reference for the young Blue rider-, Nairo continued his good feelings throughout the race putting on a better time than the other GC favourites -race leader Sergio Henao (SKY), team-mate Richie Porte, Alberto Contador (TST) and Simon Spilak (KAT)- through the intermediate point and endorsing it into the second part of the race, with a constant ride through the Alto de Olaberria and a great final descent that saw him coming across the finish line in 35.22, just 17 seconds behind Martin and almost half a minute over Porte -2nd overall, with Henao in 3rd-.
Nairo’s joy in his 12th victory as pro rider -also winning the Points competition in the process- and Movistar Team’s seventh in the 2013 season was complete with the collective success from the telephone squad, who put no less than five of their riders into the best 20 in the time trial -Quintana and Intxausti (8th overall), as well as Castroviejo, Costa and Herrada- and conquered its second WorldTour teams’ overall this year.
REACTION / Nairo Quintana: “I’m super happy with this victory and this time trial, that went quite better than I expected. I was fighting for such a victory since Paris-Nice, felt really good all these days and was able to confirm today that good feeling on the road. It was quite a good parcours for me: it had flat sections, where I don’t do bad at all, also some slopes and several turns – as it was also a short TT, it suited me well. We rode with calmness and confidence, distributing my strength equally over the course, and it went well. The roads were slippery and we had to take some risks into the descents; actually, I was close to crashing once, but at the final descent, I already knew I had a good gap and could take things easier.
“It’s my first victory in such a big race – it’s something wonderful, it makes me really happy. I don’t know yet how far I can reach: I’m relatively young and we’re yet to see how my body progresses. I thank and dedicate Es mi primera victoria en una gran carrera, algo maravilloso y que me da mucha alegría. Todavía no sé hasta dónde puedo llegar: soy relativamente joven y tenemos que ver cómo progresa todo. Agradezco y le dedico este triunfo a todo mi equipo, tanto a mis compañeros como a los auxiliares, a los técnicos y a Eusebio Unzué, por cuidarme, por llevarme adelante en los momentos difíciles y por la confianza que tienen siempre en mí. Esta victoria es para todos ellos y para la afición que nos apoya en Colombia y en todo el mundo. Saber que tanto yo como mis compatriotas estamos dando buena imagen ante el mundo nos llena de orgullo“.