Tirreno-Adriatico (st. 6)
Colombian from Movistar Team only man brave enough to combat Contador’s hammer through the Passo Lanciano, sits now in 2nd overall before Tuesday’s TT showdown
At almost two months’ distance from his first big battle of the 2014 season in the Giro d’Italia, Nairo Quintana completed today a notable first approach to the mountains in the cycling spring. Despite being still far from his best condition, the Colombian talent from the Movistar Team showed his commiment at the Passo Lanciano, demanding climb preceeding the infamous Muro di Guardiagrele on stage five of Tirreno-Adriatico (191km), where Alberto Contador (TCS) shattered the competition to take his second stage win and the overall leadership.
It was the task for the telephone squad’s riders to to chase the break and split the group. When Igor Antón attacked after just 3k into the ascent, only thirty riders survived in the field. Nairo Quintana would follow his team-mate to start an unsuccessful first attack with Contador, which was followed by another move from the Spaniard, halfway through the climb. The gaps opened quickly against Nairo, joined by Mikel Nieve (SKY), Giampaolo Caruso (KAT), Jean-Christope Péraud and Domenico Pozzovivo (ALM) for a difficult pursuit into the final ramp -over 30% gradient-. Nairo crossed the line in 12th spot, 1’51” down.
Quintana’s 2nd place overall will be at stake on the decisive, 9km ITT in San Benedetto on Tuesday, where he will defend his 7secs over Kreuziger (TCS), 31″ on Arredondo (TFR) and 32″ against Péraud (ALM). Before that, a flat stage (189km) will take the riders to Porto Sant’Elpidio, courageous and fast ones called for victory.
REACTION/ Nairo Quintana: “I took the chance and attacked from far away at the Lanciano climb, but Alberto followed my wheel, we didn’t get on with each other’s job well and we ended up being caught. He jumped from behind afterwords and caught me a bit unprepared. When I reacted, I had him sort of at reach, but to be honest, he was stronger and went away. He distributed his energy well through both climbs and took a nice victory. It has been a hard two days for me; looking at my fitness status, still building on my Giro condition, I’m pretty satisfied. Especially, seeing the team doing so well. They’ve helped me out all these days, and that makes me confident towards that goal we have. We will try to keep our podium place in these two stages. We know it will be hard with such rivals in the time trial, but we will do our best.”