Giro d'Italia (st. 15)
Movistar Team leader -3rd behind Aru (AST) & Duarte (COL) atop Plan di Montecampione- keeps his mind cold, puts 24″ more on Urán to climb into 5th in Giro’s overall, 50″ adrift of overall podium
Still not at his best condition, splurging on lots of patience and regularity, Nairo Quintana keeps making up ground in the 2014 Giro d’Italia against his main rivals after terrain lost in the last two weeks of racing. The Colombian rider from the Movistar Team finished 3rd on top of Plan di Montecampione (Cat-1), only climb of a long stage fifteen, over 225km practically flat from the start in Valdengo.
The Colombian was fully backed by the telephone squad during a long procession leading up to the final 19k uphill. José Herrada was the man to help Nairo out into the ascent, pushing briefly at the front of the group and only dropping halfway through, with just 13 riders still in, including all the main favourites. The attacks by Arredondo (TFR) and Deignan (SKY) in search for a decimated, original break of twelve preceeded a first significant move from GC leader Urán (OPQ), which Quintana reached down with no troubles, and a second move by Rolland (EUC), which did not find immediate response by the GC candidates. However, a late move by Aru (AST), followed by Urán and which Nairo lost sight of by following Cadel Evans (BMC), who was on his red zone, forced the man from Boyacá to tackle the last 3km with extreme caution.
Quintana attacked, reached Urán again -later dropping him- as well as team-mate Duarte (COL), got to the wheel of Rolland and was close to materializing a full comeback with another move with 600m to go, countered by Duarte as the Colombian duo came across the finish with a 22-second deficit to Aru, 20″ ahead of Urán. The time bonus takes Nairo 2’40” behind the maglia rosa, 5th overall and just 50″ off the podium, before Monday’s third, last rest day. Gavia (Cat-1), Stelvio (Cima Coppi) and Val Martello (Cat-1) will get the Giro back into an activity with a real tappone –though just 139km-, weather permitting.