Colombian leads Movistar Team's exhibition of power and cold blood in Vuelta a Burgos' queen stage; Quintana leads GC after sixth success in outstanding 2014 season, with Movistar up to 29 -just three short of their excellent 2013-
Picture: Rafa Gómez / Ciclismo a Fondo
A sensational Movistar Team and a calm, yet unstoppable, Nairo Quintana. That would be a perfect summary of the success obtained by the Colombian rider in the traditional mountain stage of the Vuelta a Burgos, a 170km parcours with seven rated climbs and mountain-top finish in the hors categorie Lagunas de Neila, which the squad directed by José Luis Arrieta on Spanish soil clearly dominated.
Juanjo Lobato, still wearing the purple leader’s jersey, was the first to stand up and work for Quintana, alongside Imanol Erviti and Rubén Plaza. As several ascents in the last 50k came, the three left room to their climbing team-mates: Szmyd, Moreno, Antón and Herrada all took strong turns up-front. With the day’s break caught through the El Collado (Cat-2) climb and just twenty ahead at the 5km-to-go mark, an attack by Landa (AST) caused real selection. Tiralongo (AST), Pardilla (MTN) and Arroyo followed the Spaniard, as well as Quintana, who kept calm despite several attacks from his rivals and only accelerated twice, briefly, to keep the pace before the decisive point of the race.
Nairo’s big attack came into the same point where he outclassed his competition in 2013. Under the flamme rouge, the leader of the telephone squad was able to drop Dani Moreno (KAT), glued to all his moves; reached the already solitary Landa and cross the finish line with a six-second margin that granted him the race leadership. Quintana’s 21st victory as pro cyclist -his sixth this season, the Movistar Team’s 29th as they approach the 32 of the unforgettable 2013- will search for overall confirmation on Sunday at the decisive TT in Aranda de Duero. Before that, Saturday will bring 142km on rolling roads, suiting the sprinters, en route to Villarcayo on stage four.
REACTION | Nairo Quintana: “It was spectacular, winning here again – everyone in Burgos always treats me well and supports me whenever I come here. I really like the province and I’m proud to have won again on this climb. The team was fantastic and kept me calm before the final ascent. When the rivals attacked, I kept looking behind to control Dani Moreno – to see if he was on my wheel, to know the gaps. When we went into the final kilometer I saw them getting out of my reach, with Dani still behind. I knew I had to give everything to drop him. Fortunately, I could do it. I’m leading the race by just one second, which shows that we’re pretty much equal on force. I felt well today, though many others might be doing better than me. Now it’s just a matter of giving it all at the TT on Sunday; I don’t think anything serious should happen tomorrow, but we’ll stay focused in the finale”.