Tour de Romandie (final report)
Quintana seals overall success in Tour de Romandie – his second stagerace victory in 2016 – after extraordinary week from whole Movistar Team: two stage wins; 3rd place GC for Ion Izagirre -crashed into final kilometer of today's stage-; 2nd-place finish for Amador in Geneva; yellow jersey from start to finish; Points and Teams' classifications
After Sunday's 177km from Ollon to Geneva, Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team) notched up overall success in the 70th Tour de Romandie. It marks the sixteenth win of the 2016 season –Betancur's in Asturias was the 17th-, crowning an impressive last month for the Blues with eleven victories in only 29 days.
Following a long, successful breakaway by Andrey Amador, only beaten by local hero Michael Albasini (OGE) over the line, Nairo and his team-mates were able to celebrate their tremendous results of the week -the yellow (Quintana) and green (Ion Izagirre) jerseys, the teams' classification, a third spot overall for Ion Izagirre and the undisputed lead of the race from start to finish-, yet with Ion absent. The Basque allrounder crashed into the final kilometre and was moved by ambulance with blows over his body and a cut to his lip, and couldn't attend the podium ceremony. Checkups ruled out any major injuries.
Romandie joins from today the list of WorldTour stageraces claimed by the Movistar Team, now only missing the Tour Down Under in their glorious palmarès. It's also the end to a memorable early campaign for Quintana, for the fourth time on the overall podium in as many multi-day events he's ridden since January -3rd in San Luis, winner of the Volta a Catalunya, 3rd again in the Vuelta al País Vasco-. A boost of morale before he heads back to Colombia in order to keep preparing himself for the quest of the #SueñoAmarillo ('Yellow Dream').
Nairo Quintana: "It wasn't a calm day at all. I was feeling a bit nervous due to the weather. It was so cold in the early morning, we even woke up to snow in our hotel. It's not easy to defend oneself in such a situation, you start the stage unprepared and require more time to get into the right temperature. However, the team was at the correct place all the time, the forecast changed a bit and things ended up well. It's a bittersweet day, since Ion crashed and couldn't join us for the podium. Let's hope it's nothing serious for him.
“At times this victory seemed like it would be way harder to claim than it was at the end, especially before the TT, considering how strong our rivals for that day we thought they would be compared to us. Fortunately, as well in Sion as yesterday in Villars my legs responded well; the team was fantastic all week and we covered the final stage without any complications. Compliments for what they did in Romandie are more than deserved and I've won this one thanks to their tireless effort. But we must not relax. The Romandie win gives us confidence and calmness, and the whole group is strong, so no matter who we bring to the Tour, we'll be well protected. However, things can change before July and surely our rivals will bring powerful squads to the Tour. We will be just one team between many contenders. You ask me about the myth about one winning Romandie and going on to win the Tour – I hope that legend is true, so we can make the 'Yellow Dream' become real.
"I was glad to see all the Colombians happy for what I did this week, both those at home and the ones joining us here in Switzerland. This passion and excitement we always put at everything we do is a way to show the beautiful side of our country. This victory is a tribute to all of them. Now I'm heading home to stay with my family for some weeks and train in Colombia before the Tour. Later on, we will decide which race suits me best for the month of June. Why not riding the Tour de Suisse? I like this country, they've always treated me well here. I've still not decided what to do, though. What is clear to me is we've got a goal, we know how to work for it and we don't have to worry about what others do. We'll do our thing as good as we can so we can reach the start of the Tour in the best possible condition.”