Route du Sud (final report)
Movistar Team wraps up magnificent Route du Sud as Nairo Quintana -winner of his third stagerace in 2016- and Marc Soler -runner-up, in his most brilliant week as pro- finish one-two overall
Nairo Quintana won his first Route du Sud overall in 2012 at the age of 22, when he was ‘only’ one of cycling’s best young talents. Four years later, the Movistar Team leader took again the final ‘corail’ jersey in the Pyrenees after a fantastic season: five stagerace podiums out of five appearances, three wins including WorldTour Catalunya and Romandie, and excellent legs from what is arguably one of the biggest candidates to win the Tour de France in five weeks’ time.
The work from the whole Movistar Team to take care of the Colombian into the 155km stage five -eight laps of a circuit in the Astarac countryside, in and around the village of Clermont-Pouyguillès, with as many climbs of the Côte de Moncassin (Cat-3)- was flawless thanks to the experience from Erviti, Sutherland, Herrada, Dayer and Rojas. It was José Joaquín’s task to try a late move, once the day’s breakaway was caught, in pursuit of Julien Loubet (FVC) and Vaugrenard (FDJ); unfortunately, his move won’t stick and was caught by the sprinters with two kilometers to go. Arnaud Démare (FDJ) prevalied across the line, with Rojas in 7th spot.
Sunday’s success in France marks Nairo’s 29th triumph in the pro scene -twenty-six within the ranks of Eusebio Unzué’s squad, which takes him to fourth in the team’s historical rankings, joint with ‘Chava’ Jiménez and Laguía- and the 26th victory for the Movistar Team in 2016, rounding off its final stagerace before the ‘Grande Boucle’ with second overall, and best Young rider, for Marc Soler. A beautiful way to set things straight before the #SueñoAmarillo comes at stake next month.
Nairo Quintana: “It’s a very important victory. I was coming into this event following long weeks of training in atlitude at home in Colombia, and I could confirm I’m in good form. Legs have gone as usual for me in the mountains and it seems obvious that I’ve improved quite a bit into the time trial. Friday, I rode the 2016 Canyon Speedmax TT bike for the first time – it’s really great, and this technological progress makes your efforts worth.
“The team did really well: great job from them from the beginning to the end of the race, crowning it today after a mountain stage where they rode fantastically, including Marc’s win. Both victories in the race -this overall win I confirmed today and my first success in 2012- have been really significant into my sporting career and for my preparations for the Tour. Reaching the ‘Grande Boucle’ this way feels really good.”
Picture ©: La Route du Sud