Österreich-Rundfahrt (st. 3)
Colombian youngster from Movistar Team wins under the rain atop the hellish Kitzbüheler Horn, after a long day in the break; Javi Moreno (4th) strengthens provisional GC podium place
Picture (c): Klaus Titzer – Österreich-Rundfahrt
What already was a satisfactory adaptation -including appearances in big classics, such as ‘De Ronde’ of Roubaix- by Nairo Quintana to the pro scene turned into a massive success on Tuesday during the first mountain stage of the Tour of Austria. The Colombian rider from the Movistar Team -neo-pro, turns 22 on August 10, raised in the village of Cómbita like his older brother Nairo- crowned on top of the hellish Kitzbüheler Horn (HC, almost 8km at 12% average) a magnificent breakaway which covered almost the whole 206km of racing from Bad Ischl.
Ten riders, including Dayer, made the original breakaway, never allowed a big gap by the bunch -its biggest margin was 3’30”- and coming into the resort city of Kitzbühel, where where downpour fell from several kilometers prior, with less than two minutes. Into the climb, Quintana increased the pace and went away with Levarlet (COF), later dropping the Frenchman to start a solo climb which saw his rivals losing more and more ground on the gruelling slopes.
The bunch with all favourites, 1’30” back halfway into the ascent, was eventually reduced to only three contenders: race leader peter Kennaugh (SKY) and Damiano Caruso (CAN), the only ones able to gain terrain on Dayer, and Javi Moreno, who struggled into the final slopes (4th) but kept his third place in the provisional GC. Dayer completed his exhibition on the top tas he opened his victory account as pro and took Movistar Team’s up to 23 in this season.
REACTION | Dayer Quintana: “I felt physically well before this race and wanted to test my legs. I wasn’t planning to get into today’s breakaway, though – we were just controlling the race, but at some point, we were into a group of ten up-front. I had to keep going after making the group, and also profiting of the gap staying the same practically until the foot of the climb. I took a strong relay into the first slopes and when I could realize, I was alone. I told to myself: ‘It’s now or never.’ I went on full steam until the finish – there were no time references, only visual ones, and until I didn’t get into the final 200 meters I didn’t feel I could win.
I just couldn’t believe myself, it was spectacular. I cried out of emotion, and in a matter of thousandths of a second, everyone important in my life came to my mind: my team, my family, Nairo, my girlfriend. This is the best way I had to reward them for everyone they did for me. We had come close to the win here with Javi Moreno and Lobato, and we deserved it. I hadn’t raced since the Giro del Trentino – I spent almost two months in Colombia, training hard, in long sessions to build my muscles and lose fat, and things are turning out well. This win convinces myself I’m not just Nairo’s brother – I can win as well, things are achievable when you take efforts.”