Nairo Quintana and Movistar Team get over Giro stage 17 with no incidents, keep the maglia rosa before three decisive mountain stages from Thursday
PHOTO GALLERY | Nairo Quintana in pink
208 kilometers with no single trouble were the best way for Nairo Quintana and the Movistar Team to take over the ‘de iure’ leadership in the Giro d’Italia, in the last flat day before three demanding mountain stages the Corsa Rosa‘s peloton will tackle before the ‘Grande Arrivo’ in Trieste on Sunday.
After almost two hours of racing full of attacks, covered at over 50 kph average, the telephone squad, which always kept the front with Ventoso, Malori and Amador, let a 26-rider move go away with one of the Blues, Igor Antón -who was later drop and couldn’t contest the win-. The attempt, shrunk to five riders after the Muro di Ca’ del Poggio (Cat-4), 20km from the finish, saw Stefano Pirazzi (BAR) raising his arms victorious after a well-timed attack before the last kilometer.
More than fifteen minutes behind, with extreme caution due to the last sections wet by storms, the bunch arrived including a calm Quintana, securing a second day in maglia rosa after a transition stage preceeding the colossus scheduled for Thursday: San Pellegrino (Cat-1), almost from the start; Redebus (Cat-2); and the Rifugio Panarotta (Cat-1), end for the 171km stage eighteen from Belluno.
REACTION | Nairo Quintana: “It was a relatively calm day. The first two hours were really fast because everyone knew we would be letting a big break go away, but once the escape was made, the finale was really calm thanks to my team, who controlled the pace all day. Now it’s time for those final three mountain stages, more suited to me. I hope to fulfil the expectations and respond to what it’s asked from a race leader. Attacking? The main goal is defending ourselves, and if the chance turns up, trying to increase the gaps, but for the time being, the goal is defending this result.
I think I’ve proven my real quality, not only yesterday: in Oropa, I was the best of the GC favourites despite being ill; in Montecampione, only Aru could beat me… My rivals will surely be willing to attack and of course, we can see some alliances we must pay attention to. But I really trust my team. We are still all the nine of us on course, and after all troubles we went through, we’re feeling great now.”